The city is turning to the company who failed to install accurate speed cameras in Baltimore as one of three vendors participating in a pilot program for body-worn cameras on Baltimore Police officers.
Brekford Corporation, of Hanover, MD, will partner with Panasonic using the Arbitrator Camera and Microsoft Azure storage service, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced this afternoon.
The other vendors – selected from a pool of 10 companies – are Taser International, offering the Axon Body Camera and Amazon Web Services, and Atlantic Tactical, offering the Vievu LE4 Camera and Microsoft Azure storage service.
The three vendors will participate in a pilot program, set to begin October 26 and end on December 18, that will equip 155 officers from the Eastern, Western and Central districts with body cameras.
The city will select one of the three vendors as the sole provider of body-worn cameras at the conclusion of the pilot.
Today’s announcement is part of a lengthy process instituted by Rawlings-Blake to install body cameras.
Last December, she vetoed a City Council bill requiring cameras on police officers, saying the administration needed time to implement the program. After appointing a committee to study the issue, the mayor said she would move ahead to the pilot phase.
Baltimore County Jumps on Body Camera Bandwagon
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz this afternoon announced that the police department expects to deploy 150 body cameras on officers next July and to fully equip the 1,435-officer force by July 2017. He said the first five years of the program is expected to cost taxpayers $7.1 million.
“I have made it clear that I want us to do this right, and this pilot program will ensure that we find the right solution for Baltimore,” Rawlings-Blake said in today’s statement.
Brekford is no stranger to City Hall. In November 2012, it was handed the keys to the lucrative speed and red-light camera program by the mayor and Board of Estimates, besting the city’s longtime provider, Xerox State & Local Solutions.
After buying more than $2 million in equipment from Brekford, the city suspended the speed camera program in April 2013. Eight months later, Brekford was paid $600,000 to terminate its contract.
The speed camera mess spawned various controversies within city government, including a report by Inspector General Robert H. Pearre Jr. alleging “inappropriate” conduct by the mayor’s ex-chief of staff, Alexander M. Sanchez, with a Xerox lobbyist.
In the case of police body cameras, the mayor said she will make a selection of a single vendor early next year.
However, the police department warned the City Council last month that it does not expect to roll out a full body-camera program until mid-2017.