Elkhart reaches agreement with police body camera manufacturer

(WNDU)
Published: Feb. 3, 2017 at 12:52 PM EST
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Police officers in Elkhart may soon return to wearing body cameras.

The city has come to a tentative agreement with camera manufacturer Digital Ally.

On January 9,

that the Elkhart Police Department was taking all of its body cameras off the streets.

According to Neese, almost a quarter of the 80 body cameras in use were not functioning correctly. Issues included radio interference, power camera connectivity and battery life.

According to a Friday news release, Neese and members of the police administration met with Digital Ally recently to discuss the reliability issues. Digital Ally agreed to replace the current body-worn cameras with the company’s latest model.

These cameras would be provided at no additional cost to the city. Each of the new cameras would also include two double-life batteries and a warranty through January 31, 2019.

“Body-worn cameras are an invaluable tool that protects both our law enforcement officials and the public,” Neese said. “I appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the manufacturer, and I look forward to seeing these cameras back on the streets.”

The updated agreement will go before the Board of Works for final approval on Tuesday, February 7.


From an Elkhart media release:

ELKHART (February 3, 2017) – Mayor Tim Neese announced today that – pending approval by the Board of Works – the Elkhart Police Department will receive 80 generation four body-worn cameras – the newest model available – from manufacturer Digital Ally. The announcement comes less than one month after the mayor temporarily suspended use of the body-worn cameras given the unreliability of the product.

“Body-worn cameras are an invaluable tool that protects both our law enforcement officials and the public,” Neese said. “I appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the manufacturer, and I look forward to seeing these cameras back on the streets.”

The previous 80 cameras had been purchased based on funds appropriated by the City Council in 2015. Shortly after complete deployment of all cameras, the department began experiencing a variety of technical problems with the product. Some of the most common problems included radio interference, power camera connectivity and battery life.

After temporarily suspending the department’s usage of body-worn cameras, Mayor Neese and members of the police administration met with Digital Ally to discuss these concerns. During this meeting, the city of Elkhart and Digital Ally mutually agreed that the manufacturer would replace the current body-worn cameras with the company’s latest model. These products would be provided at no additional cost to the city.

Due to the feedback that Digital Ally had received from multiple law enforcement agencies, the latest version addresses technical issues experienced in earlier models, including radio interference and power camera connectivity. Each of the new cameras would also include two double life batteries and a warranty through January 31, 2019.

The updated agreement will now go before the Board of Works for final approval on Tuesday, February 7. Upon Board approval, the process of assigning and programming cameras will begin immediately.