Green Bay City Council approves purchase of police body cameras, Packers to chip in $757k to offset cost

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 9:24 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay City Council has unanimously voted to approve the purchase of body cameras for the Green Bay Police Department.

After years of being on the police department’s wish list, the council voted for the purchase Tuesday night.

RELATED: Green Bay mayor, police chief talk buying body cameras

Police Chief Andrew Smith anticipates officers will get the body cameras as soon as March.

“I think with Axon we get the most comprehensive program, we get the best training, we get the most reliable system. So really for us, I think this is the best choice,” said Chief Smith.

Axon will not only be providing officers with 190 body cameras, but also updated tasers, squad cameras and data storage in a $2.7 million contract.

RELATED: Green Bay body cameras update: Company gives presentation to city council

In addition, the Green Bay Packers are helping offset the cost with a $757,000 donation directly to the police department.

“I’m grateful for the Packers, we’re one of 32 cities across the country that has a NFL team, and a NFL team that’s really willing to step up and support a community initiative, one they pushed for but second of all, one that our community is requesting,” said Jesse Brunette, the Alder for Green Bay’s 12th District.

The donation from the Packers will cover most of the costs in the first year of the five year contract. The city already budgeted for the tasers which will cost about $21,000.

RELATED: Green Bay Police have sights set on body cameras, other equipment upgrades

Right now, city officials are looking at borrowing to cover costs over the remaining four years, which doesn’t sit well with some alders.

“My fear is that if we start boding for something that is an annual expense, you will never retire the debt, so for that reason, I think it’s very important to find a way to absorb this into our annual operating budget,” said Brian Jonson, the Alder for the city’s 9th District.

The Packers also worked with Axon to provide an additional discount of nearly $170,000. That coupled with bundled cost savings brings the total to the city down to about $1.9 million.

“As an organization, we are committed to using our platform and providing resources to help achieve racial equity and social justice,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “In conversations with our players, community partners and elected officials, we determined that supporting this purchase would complement our many other efforts to address injustices in our communities of color. The cameras will also help the police perform their duties more effectively and benefit the local community. We are proud to be working with Green Bay and Axon to bring this technology to our city in order to enhance public safety and affect meaningful change.”

Axon is the same company used by the Appleton and Oshkosh Police Departments.

As Action 2 News reported just last week, the Oshkosh City Council voted to renew a contract with Axon, as well as buy an additional 24 cameras.

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