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Pennsylvania Town Invests in Body Cameras for Police

Wright Township police officers will soon become the second police department to utilize body cameras in that particular region of Pennsylvania, doing so via the signing of a new contract with Axon Enterprises.

Up close body camera
(TNS) — Wright Twp. police officers will soon become the second Mountain Top police department to utilize body cameras.

Township supervisors last week approved a five-year, $130,600 contract with Axon Enterprises to provide the department with body cameras, police vehicle cameras and new Tasers.

The purchases mean township police officers for the first time will be equipped with body cameras and their vehicles with dashboard cameras. The body camera equipment, including software and accessories, will cost $57,091. The fleet camera package will cost $43,945.23 and Tasers and accessories, $29,572.20.

The equipment purchase will be funded mostly through grants. The township received a $93,770.04 Local Law Enforcement Support (LLES) grant for the equipment. It will use $29,572.20 in American Rescue Plan Act money and $7,266.83 from its general fund for the remainder of the cost.

The purchase includes seven officer-worn body cameras with associated batteries and docking stations; a digital evidence storage/records management system; two in-car cameras which include license plate reader systems and associated hardware; seven tasers with cartridges; and equipment warranty.

Police Chief Royce Engler said he's excited about the new equipment, particularly the body-worn cameras, and is looking forward to their implementation.

"We've been trying for several years to get grant money for body cameras. More and more departments are going with them," noted Engler, who recently was installed as president of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. He pointed out Rice Twp. police have been using body cameras for several years.

Rice Twp. Police Department has utilized body cameras since mid-2017, the first department in Luzerne County to implement the devices.

Supervisors also approved the department's policy for use of body cameras at the meeting.

In addition to recording interactions with the public, the body cameras are designed to begin recording whenever a Taser or gun is drawn. The system will allow real time alerts and view vehicle location and livestreams in real-time GPS location.

The records/evidence system will streamline communication with other law enforcement agencies. A key benefit of the equipment and technology is streamlined electronic delivery of video evidence to the district attorney's office.

It is anticipated that body and dash camera footage will assist with clearance rates as digital evidence will be on hand for prosecution. Lookouts (BOLO's) and NCIC alerts are pushed to the car cameras allowing police departments over various jurisdictions to cooperate to make arrests and increase clearance rates. The dash camera will allow immediate notification of expired registrations and suspended driver's licenses.

Slocum Volunteer Fire Company Mud Bog

Slocum Twp. Volunteer Fire Company's annual Mud Bog will be held Sept. 9, at the fire hall grounds. Registration is from 7 to 10 a.m. with events beginning shortly after. Parking is $20 per carload. Volunteers will be selling basket raffle chances, meat raffle tickets, homemade breakfast, snacks, lunch, non-alcoholic beverages, T-shirts and more.

Slocum fire meat raffle

Slocum Twp. Volunteer Fire Company has partnered with Maylath Farm of Sugarloaf Twp. for a meat raffle fundraiser. Tickets are $10 each or three for $20. These tickets can be purchased by messaging the fire company on Facebook, visiting Blue Ridge Polaris during their normal business hours, contacting any member or stopping by the annual Mud Bog on Sept. 9.

Winners will be drawn on Oct. 28.

First prize includes one ribeye steak, one New York strip steak, one Porterhouse steak, one T-bone steak, two sirloin tip steaks, eight quarter-pound hamburger patties, two pounds of minute steaks, two pounds of stew meat, four pounds of ground beef and one chuck roast.

Second prize: five pounds of ground beef, two pounds of minute steaks, one pack of ribs, eight quarter pound hamburger patties, two sirloin steaks.

Third prize: one brisket, two packs of ribs, eight quarter pound hamburger patties, five pounds of ground beef.

Fourth prize: 15 pounds of ground beef.

Knights of Columbus golf tournament

The Mountain Top Knights of Columbus will hold a charity golf tournament Sept. 16 at Sand Springs Country Club, Drums. The tourney begins at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start.

Cost is $85 per golfer. Sponsorships are available for a business or patron. Sponsorships can be in the form of money, gift cards or baskets.

© 2023 the Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.