The Union City Police Department will be spending nearly $616,000 to have their officers equipped with body cameras over the next five years, according to an invoice from last month.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
A July 18th invoice from Scottsdale, Arizona-based Axon Enterprise, Inc. shows that the UCPD will be paying them $615,837.50 over the course of the next five years.
In the first year, the cost will be $61,583.50, and the remaining four years will be a cumulative cost of $138,563.50 each.
The purchasing records, obtained via an Open Public Records Act request seeking information on the UCPD police body cameras, dash cameras, and de-escalation training, were also signed by Police Chief Nichelle Luster on June 10th.
Police Lt. Walter Laurencio said in an email to the city clerk, also obtained via the OPRA request, that “the UCPD is currently in the process of equipping officers with Body Worn Cameras,” though he did not provide specifics.
Laurencio said in a subsequent email that there is no projected target date since the body cam program is in its infancy.
Multiple sources subsequently confirmed with HCV that this will be the first time the UCPD utilizes body cams.
As far as de-escalation training goes, Laurencio said that the UCPD is compliant with the guidelines put forth by the state Attorney General’s Office.
“The UCPD includes de-escalation training from the Office of the Attorney General’s CLEAR Institute in conjunction with biannual training on the Use of Force,” he wrote in his initial email.
“The Use of Force training covers topics such as when force is authorized, various force options like the Conducted Energy Device, use of deadly force and de-escalation strategies and techniques. Pursuant to Attorney General Guidelines, officers are trained on Use of Force twice a year as part of firearms qualification. De-escalation training has been added to this block of instruction.”
He added that as part of the “accreditation process” officers are required to pass a test on use of force, which includes answering questions regarding de-escalation techniques.
As for dash cams, Laurencio indicated that they are present in vehicles designated for traffic functions, such as RADAR enforcement and targeted traffic campaigns.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information.