Suamico approves new police contract with sheriff’s office
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – The Village Board agreed Oct. 4 to continue with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office for police services for another three years.
The board tabled action on the new agreement in August to determine if the village was getting all the contracted services.
“I met with our DEOs (directed enforcement officers) and all those questions and concerns were answered,” Trustee Dan Roddan said.
Roddan said he wanted to make sure the “village is covered with sheriff’s services.”
“Anytime we have a vehicle breakdown, (I wanted to make sure) that our squad cars have the appropriate equipment in them, and all of that is dictated in the agreement,” he said. “I just want to make sure that we are receiving those services that we signed up for. There’s been a few breakdowns in the past, and those have been addressed, mostly it’s regarding our squad cars – making sure… our car is available, and if we need a spare, that they give us a spare.”
Suamico is one of five municipalities, along with Howard, Bellevue, Allouez and Denmark, to contract for police services with the sheriff’s office.
The new agreement calls for the same law enforcement coverage, with a 2022 contract cost of around $1.186 million, nearly $9,000, or .7%, less than this year, in part because the village’s share of investigative services from the sheriff’s office decreased.
The contract also includes annual cost increases of 2.2% in 2023 and 2024, for total yearly expenses of around $1.213 million and $1.240 million, respectively.
Those charges do not include the cost of new body/squad cameras.
The village’s annual cost will be around $26,000, not including any donations, with the sheriff’s office planning to implement cameras next year.
Chief Deputy Brad Brodbeck said the sheriff’s office is working with the Green Bay Packers to help pay for the initial purchase.
“We did get an indication that we’re going to get a donation from the Packers to cover essentially two years of the contract,” he said. “The contract with Axon (the company providing the cameras) is a five-year contract.”
Brodbeck said the Packers are interested in providing a donation for just the body-worn cameras, for which Suamico’s annual cost would be around $16,000, with the remaining annual cost of $10,400 being the charge for vehicle cameras.
“They allowed us to break that number – their donation – however, we chose for the five years,” he said. “So, we decided to do 100% of the first year and half of year two and half of year three. So, we won’t see that full charge until year four and beyond.”
Brodbeck said the annual charges for cameras come to $1,686 per full-time officer and $2,080 per vehicle, including all storage and software.
With the donation, he said Suamico wouldn’t be paying around $16,000 for body cameras in the first year when only $10,400 would be charged for vehicle cameras, while half of the charge for the body cameras would apply in the contract’s second and third years.
“What the Green Bay Packers have done in their organization is amazing,” Roddan said. “They talk about this a lot… They followed through on their promises and commitments, and the fact that they’re actually donating additional funds to cover some of this contract helps.”
Roddan said the only argument he had about the body cameras was the cost.
“We run a pretty tight ship at this village, and an additional $26,000 a year affects our budget,” he said. “That was my only concern, so here at ($10,400) that’s a lot easier to swallow. I mean, we’ve already talked about cuts and all sorts of things in our different departments.”
Brodbeck said the sheriff’s office received a quote of just under $2.2 million from Axon to equip the entire agency with cameras.
“With the Packer partnership, we’re not paying for hardware,” he said. “So, the cameras actually don’t cost us anything. It’s all the software and all the products that come with it that’s the significant amount of our cost.”
Brodbeck said Axon has the best body cameras.
“Currently, with our squad cameras, you activate your lights, your camera turns on,” he said. “This product is very similar that an officer can – knowing the situation – manually activate the camera, but there are triggers that we’re allowed to build into it that are part of the product… If an officer draws a gun or Taser, actually activates the Taser, that would turn on the body camera. Also, (any other officer) that comes in the area within Bluetooth range will activate their camera… There’s just a number of steps they’ve taken to ensure that if there’s a critical incident, that we have (video) footage.”
Brodbeck said body cameras will help the sheriff’s office related to liability, transparency and public trust.