Roswell finance committee approves police body camera contract

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ROSWELL, N.M. — The Roswell City Council’s Finance Committee on Thursday voted to move the city’s police department a step closer to resolving the problem of unreliable body cameras.

All four members of the council voted to back the purchase of 75 body worn cameras from Axon Enterprises, and enter into a $426,000 five-year contract with the company. 

“That contract includes built in upgrades of the equipment. The equipment itself, and of course the storage, which is the expensive part of the contract,” Roswell Police Chief Phil Smith said.

The contract was also approved last month by the city council’s Public Safety Committee. It comes after many cameras were sold to the department by another company called WatchGuard.

Smith told KOB 4 that of the 75 cameras they bought from WatchGuard, only 22 were able to be used.

Axon already sent new cameras to the department last month when they heard about the situation.

Though a contract has yet to be ratified by the full council, the city gave the department permission last month to start using them, in order to comply with state law that requires officers to wear them.

“The city rules, because it was kind of an emergency situation … if those cameras had failed, we’d be in violation of state law,” Smith said.

Smith said that he has received no complaints from his officers. The full city council is expected to take up the contract next week.