Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approves $10.9 million expenditure for new body cameras, Tasers

Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus confers with Pittsburgh City Clerk Brenda Pree at a March 27, 2019 City Council meeting. (Photo by Terry Clark/PublicSource/File)

Mayor Peduto has 10 days to review the contract

 

by Nicole C. Brambila, PublicSource

Pittsburgh City Council members unanimously voted Monday to approve the mayor entering the city into a $10.9 million contract for new body cameras and Tasers for the entire police force.

They did so without reviewing the specifics of the expenses in the five-year contract, which extends through 2024.

On the evening of Oct. 31, Council President Bruce Kraus requested a copy of the contract from Pittsburgh City Clerk Brenda Pree, who said Monday she didn’t know whether the contract had been finalized.

Kraus’ request came after PublicSource asked council members last week if they had reviewed the contract for the proposed purchase of 950 body cameras and 950 Tasers, along with service maintenance and upgrades for five years.

Council in January voted to increase the cost of a previous body camera contract from $1.5 million to $2.3 million. The initial contract for 550 cameras from Arizona-based Axon Enterprise Inc. was approved in 2017 without a competitive bid.

At an Oct. 30 subcommittee meeting, the only financial question council members asked about the new deal was whether it had been budgeted. Police Chief Scott Schubert assured them it had.

Before Monday’s 8-0 vote, with Councilwoman Erika Strassburger absent, Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, said the increased costs were expected.

“The cost is increasing, but we all know it’s because we’re getting upgrades,” Kail-Smith said.

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Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approves $10.9 million expenditure for new body cameras, Tasers

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