According to Kenosha City Administrator and retired Police Chief, John Morrissey, the City has begun the process of bidding and purchasing body-worn cameras for its officers. The RFP or Request for Proposal, was release last Friday. The 25 page document gives companies a chance to submit a bid to provide cameras, storage, service and training for officers to use the cameras. The city will be purchasing 160 cameras and 52 squad camera systems. The company selected will be providing a storage solution and a five-year service contract.
The deadline for submissions is Friday March 26, 2021 at 4pm. The City will then unseal the bids and an evaluation committee will review them. The City Council will hopefully approve a contract on May 3, 2021. The RFP calls for pretty strict guidelines for top-notch cameras and software. You can read the entire RPF by clicking here. The City is hoping to have the cameras operational by Spring, 2021 or early Summer. City Alderman, Rocco LaMacchia is the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee and is committed to seeing the RFP process move forward. He said “I’ve been pushing for body cameras for the last six years. So yes I am in full support a body cameras.”
A Long Time Coming
In the Spring of 2017, the City Council unanimously supported a measure voicing its support for body-cams. Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian (D) and the Common Council, however kept pushing the money back year after year. After the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake, the City was left with no choice but to buy and equip them due to tremendous public pressure.
Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department
Back in June of 2020, a conservative minority on the County Board purposed a resolution to equip Sheriff’s deputies with cameras facing strong backlash from Sheriff Beth and the County Executive, Jim Kreuser (D). It ultimately passed but surprisingly, the more liberal members on the board, like Laura Belski voiced strong opposition. It is unknown where the county is at with the process. County department-heads rarely respond timely to media inquiries or public records requests.
The implementation of BWC’s (Body-Warn Cameras) is a huge victory for proponents of open and transparent government. They tout several advantages:
Providing evidence at domestic and other serious incidents
Decreasing the amount of false complaints against officers
Increasing department transparency and accountability
Preventing violence against police officers
Convict guilty defendants and exonerate innocent defendants
We at the KCE hope that this process goes without problems and the officers get these very helpful tools as soon as possible.