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Aurora, Ill., Votes on $6.2M Contract for Body Cams, Tasers

The Aurora City Council will vote Tuesday night on a new five-year, $6.2 million contract for body cameras and Tasers for the police department, as well as accompanying software that would run through 2028.

Aurora, Ill._shutterstock_1116463199
(TNS) — The Aurora City Council will vote Tuesday night on a new five-year, $6.2 million contract for body cameras and Tasers for the police department.

The new contract that would cover the Aurora Police Department's body-worn cameras, Tasers and accompanying software would run through 2028.

Lt. Bryan Handell, Central Services director at the Aurora Police Department, said the contract would consolidate and replace the current one the city has with Axon Enterprises, which provides body-worn and squad car cameras to the department, along with Tasers.

The new contract would consolidate three contracts the city has with Axon, two from earlier this year and one dating back to 2021, when the city first purchased body-worn cameras for the police department.

It would be one new contract, with the city paying through 2027 and covering the department through 2028, Handell said.

Alex Alexandrou, the city's chief management officer, said the new contract includes upgrades when new technology comes out, rather than the city having to buy individual components "a la carte."

"In the end, we saved money, and were very efficient about it," he said. "It was a very productive negotiation."

The city would get 328 new body cameras, 150 new squad car cameras and 150 new Tasers under the contract. It also would get new software and licenses that cover them.

The software includes the My90 surveys that allow citizens to anonymously file input with the department. It also allows people to upload surveillance videos or photographs they might have from the scene of an incident police have been called to, Handell said.

The software includes license plate readers the department has already used to recover 43 stolen vehicles, and which have developed leads on 200 cases, Handell said.

The impetus for the new contract started with the availability of newer model Tasers that are more accurate and easier to handle, he said.

Right now, 110 officers carry Tasers, which they have to be trained to be issued. Another 16 are being trained now to use them.

The first price for the new contract was $8.2 million, but by bundling the equipment, it went down to about $7 million, Handell said. From there, the city was able to negotiate the price down to $6.2 million, he said.

The contract also includes new software for the department's drones, which prompted Ald. John Laesch, at large, to ask if the drones would be weaponized, and have facial recognition capability.

Handell said while the contract includes new drone software, it does not include new drones. The drones would be "the same drones we've used for years," and would not be weaponized nor include facial recognition ability.

"We're using their software, not their drones," Alexandrou said.

© 2023 The Beacon-News (Aurora, Ill.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.