Council OKs DPD video storage deal

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Demopolis City Council on Monday approved an additional $3,318 per year for five years to help the Demopolis Police Department cover the cost of digital storage for video data from police officers’ body cameras.

Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese said the cost for storing the footage recorded by the cameras has risen from $9 per camera per month, to $15 per camera in the wake of recent incidents such as the one in Ferguson, Mo.

By agreeing to a five-year deal, the Demopolis Police Department was able to lock in the price with TASER International. The footage will be stored on the cloud.

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Council member Harris Nelson said the $16,590 that will be spent over the next five years was a small price to pay for the protection the cameras provide for the police department and the citizens of Demopolis.

“It’s a relatively small price because any interaction we have, we can prove the citizen was wrong or the officer was wrong or somewhere between,” he said.

Reese, who reminded the council that the department’s 12 cameras were purchased at the end of 2013 at no cost to the city, said the cameras are used to record every interaction between an officer and the public.

He cited a case when a motorist claimed that a DPD officer cursed at her and “handled her son roughly.” According to Reese, the video proved the officer acted properly during the stop in question.

He also cited a case in Selma in which a police officer shot and killed a man that was wielding a hatchet.

“That officer would probably be indicted right now if not for his body camera,” Reese said.

In other business:

The council will seek bids for the repair of a collapsing concrete culvert under Herbert Street, which has forced officials to close one lane.

Public Works Director Mike Baker said one contractor provided a $43,000 estimate for the repairs.

The council will hold its next meeting Jan. 15 at 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall.