Little Rock will enter into a contract with WatchGuard Video, Inc. for the purchase of body-worn cameras for the city police department, as of Tuesday, June 9. The Little Rock board of directors voted unanimously on the issue, authorizing the $759,999.23 purchase yesterday.
The city will purchase 250 cameras, with an additional 25 cameras free of charge in conjunction with a deal provided by WatchGuard. Payments won’t start for 11-15 months, according to Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.
“We included body-worn cameras in the 2020 budget and worked to find federal funding as well as our existing dollars to fund into this process and went through the lengthy technology process to identify the vendor that’s best for the police department, which is WatchGuard,” Scott said in a statement. “It’s the right thing to do, and it’s essential to 21stcentury community policing.”
Body cameras were incorporated into this year’s budget through the Scott administration’s “ACT plan: Accountable, Clear and Transparent.” The LRPD did receive a $194,000 federal Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in October 2019. This grant required Little Rock to match the funds.
The decision comes after the item was tabled back in May, due to lack of understanding on the city’s financial situation. However, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and nationwide protests against police brutality, the mayor feels this was the “right move.”
Body cameras are expected to be in place and in use in the capital city by mid-August.