After months of preparation, the Boise Police Department is issuing 250 cameras to its police officers, the agency announced Thursday.
The rollout of body cams began Wednesday, with 30 officers and supervisors on BPD’s night team expected to receive them by Friday. It could take a year for all 250 cameras to be doled out to allow time for the department’s IT staff to test data transfer and archiving systems.
The city contracted with Taser International for the cameras and for a cloud-based storage system for the video they produce. Buying the initial equipment will cost the agency $400,000, and ongoing storage, maintenance and support services would cost another $250,000 per year, a BPD official confirmed.
Circumstances surrounding the contract prompted an ethics warning to city staff from Mayor Dave Bieter in April, after the Wall Street Journal questioned whether Taser improperly secured no-bid contracts with Boise and other law enforcement agencies across the country. Deputy Police Chief Eugene Smith apologized for a trip he took to Arizona that Taser paid for in May 2015. The city defended its process and its contract with Taser, insisting it had done its due diligence and compared Taser’s offerings with other companies.
“Body cameras provide a tool which not only documents the great work officers do each day but improves our training, makes criminal prosecution more efficient and builds trust in the community by providing even greater transparency,” said BPD Chief William Bones in a statement.
Officers are expected to be equipped with 30 cameras by Friday, according to the release.