December 12, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Implementation of Body Cameras for EIPD Officers - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to receive a presentation from Police Chief Tony Reese about the EIPD’s plans to implement body cameras at the December 12 meeting.  If the Board concurs, we intend to discontinue the use of in-car cameras and rely exclusively on body cameras in the future.

All EIPD patrol cars are currently equipped, and have been equipped for many years, with in-car camera systems that are automatically activated when the lights and sirens are activated (and also include limited video prior to activation).  These in-car camera systems provide potentially helpful video of specific incidents and officer actions, however, they are limited to video captured in the line of sight of the vehicle.  These in-car camera systems are also expensive (approximately $5,000 each), and require more manual manipulation of video data.  As you probably know, many law enforcement agencies have been implementing body cameras, and these cameras have been helpful in documenting specific incidents and officer actions outside of the patrol vehicle.  Chief Reese and his staff have been investigating the potential use of body cameras in Emerald Isle for the past few years, and are now ready to migrate exclusively to this technology.

The attached memo from Chief Reese includes a detailed description of his plans, and we have also attached a few brochures describing the ARQ Vision cameras that the EIPD intends to utilize.  We believe the body cameras will be more beneficial and also more cost-effective than the in-car cameras, for the following reasons: (Attachment 1, 2, 3)

  • the body cameras will capture more interaction between the officer and the public, and will be more useful for evidence and quality assurance purposes,
  • the ARQ Vision system requires less manual manipulation of video data, includes easy-to-use redaction software, and video may be viewed remotely by EIPD command staff, the District Attorney, the offenders’ attorney, and others legally authorized to view the video data, and
  • the Town’s annual cost for the body cameras is approximately $7,200, including all data storage costs, compared to our current annual cost of $15,000 for 3 replacement in-car cameras.

If the Board concurs, we intend to schedule proper training of EIPD personnel and implement the body cameras in early 2018.  We also intend to offer our existing in-car camera systems for internet auction, and hope to realize approximately $10,000 - $15,000 of revenue from the sale of these cameras. 

Chief Reese and I look forward to discussing this initiative with the Board at the December 12 meeting.