Grant to help fund police body cameras

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The Common Council will consider authorizing a State and Municipal Facilities Program (SAM) grant award for Rome Police Department to be used toward the purchase of body cameras at its next regular meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in Common Council Chambers of City Hall.

The meeting will also be live-streamed at: www.romenewyork.com/common-council. According to Police Chief Kevin C. Beach, the SAM grant will be in the amount of $125,000 and used to offset the costs of body cameras and related equipment.

Council members will also consider authorizing the approval of $185,185.16 as “match funding” related to the $125,000 SAM grant. According to the ordinance, City Treasurer David Nolan has requested authorization that $185,185.16 be used as match funding, with annual payments of $46,296.29 beginning Dec. 1, set forth in a quote from Axon Enterprises, for the purchase of body cameras and supporting equipment.

During a budget hearing with the council Oct. 13, Beach announced plans to purchase 65 body cameras to be worn by all front-line officers.

When first investigating the expenditures associated with the purchase of the cameras, which also includes a service contract, licensing and software associated with downloading and storing camera footage, as well as sharing evidence/information with the county District Attorney’s Office, the chief said estimated costs were at about $490,000, with just 50 cameras included in the purchase.

Several months later, Beach said they were able to bring that cost down to approximately $310,000 for the purchase of 65 cameras through manufacturer Axon. A donation of $1,000 to also be used toward the purchase of cameras was accepted by the council at its last meeting on Oct. 13.

Also on the agenda:

• Accepting a donation from Redeemer Church of 15 water rescue throw bags to be used by Rome Police Department.

• Authorization to amend the Harborway on the Erie Canal Capitol Account, previously adopted as Resolution 102 of 2020, to include additional funding sources.

• Resolution 81, cancelling certain Common Council meetings. According to the resolution, Common Council President Stephanie Viscelli has requested that meetings for Nov. 24 and Dec. 22 be cancelled due to them being scheduled during holiday weeks.

• Ordinance 9482 authorizing the closing of a portion of North James Street, from West Liberty Street north to West Court Street, for the annual Veterans Day program on Thursday, Nov. 11.

As for tabled legislation, the Common Council will also consider approval of the proposed $45.7 million city budget for 2022 and amending the Code of Ordinances Chapter 80 — Zoning Code and Related Maps to include the new Heritage District-Erie Canal (HD-EC) Zone on Rome-New London Road.

In communications, financial reports for the period ending Sept. 30 will be received from Rome Historical Society, Capitol Theatre, Rome Art and Community Center, Jervis Public Library and Ava Dorfman Senior Citizens Council. Rome Police Department will also submit a report of training requests for the quarter ending Sept. 30.

Both are on file in the City Clerk’s Office.

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