Ashwaubenon approves body camera program
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The village board approved a five-year plan Tuesday, March 23, to finance a body camera program for the Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department.
The village will be using the Axon Officer Safety Plan (OSP) 7+ body camera package, which includes cameras along with Tasers and the capability for managing, storing and sharing digital recordings.
Public Safety Chief Brian Uhl said Axon was willing to restructure how the village pays for the program, so it does not incur any expenses this year for purchasing body-worn cameras.
“Year two is reduced based on the contribution we get from the Packers, and then year three, four and five those costs were deferred into those later years to help us with the budgeting process,” he said.
According to financial figures Uhl provided to the board, after no monetary impact this year, the program would cost the village $42,964 in 2022 and $100,967 in each of the following three years.
The overall price quote from Axon for the program over a five-year period came to $462,870, but the financial impact to the village will be $345,879 when factoring in the donation from the Green Bay Packers, who have offered to assist local law enforcement agencies in equipping officers with body-worn cameras.
However, Uhl said this year the village will incur some incidental costs for upgrading cell phones, data storage, installation of cables for docking stations and vehicle outfitting fees related to the body-worn camera program, but those expenses will be absorbed in the 2021 public safety budget.
“Hopefully we can work through this process without further issue in that regard, but (I’m) very thankful, very appreciative of the work that we’ve been doing with this project with the support of the board and the Packers as well, in order to get this up and rolling,” he said.
Village President Mary Kardoskee said it would be a “long shot” to finance a body-worn camera program for Ashwaubenon without financial assistance from the Packers.
“When Brian first got here last year, we talked about this, and I think at some point it’s going to be mandatory for every department (to be equipped with body-worn cameras),” she said. “I think it makes our officers more at ease.”
Kardoskee said she and Uhl met with Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy and Director of Public Affairs Aaron Popkey regarding the team donating money to the village to help fund the program.