Wrangell Assembly to hear request for police bodycams

    The Axon 3 body camera.

    Wrangell, Alaska (KINY) - The City & Borough of Wrangell Assembly will take up whether to purchase bodycams for police officers on Tuesday night.

    The request comes from Wrangell Police Department Chief Tom Radke.

    "To be able to effectively perform contact community tracing due to COVID-19 contact, I am requesting that the city purchase Axon Body 3 camera's and storage from Axon," Radke wrote to the Assembly, adding he was doing so, "... Due to community demands for service and the progression and improvement of police services."

    According to Radke, the advantages of the body cameras are they help to provide a clear picture of contacts and help identify contacts at a later time if necessary.

    "The cameras help improve behavior from citizens and it allows officers to self-evaluate and find opportunities to improve how they handle a situation," Radke wrote. "The cameras have resulted in a reduction in complaints and related expenses."

    Radke wrote that the total amount for the body cameras and storage for five years is $34,401.90.

    "COVID-19 money has been approved for this expenditure," Radke stated.

    The assembly must approve by motion or resolution any purchase whose cost exceeds $25,000 which is to be excluded from competitive bidding.

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