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WatchGuard to deploy body cameras to Detroit police

Staff writer |
Starting next month, the Detroit Police Department will begin the implementation of police body cameras and new in-car video, thanks to city council approval of a $5.2 million contract with WatchGuard.

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WatchGuard was the preferred vendor based on several criteria: cost, experience in deployment of the technology, video file access and file management capabilities, and timeline for full integration between body-worn and in-vehicle cameras.

The next leading proposal was from Taser, at a cost of $8.9 million. Unlike WatchGuard, Taser is new to producing in-vehicle cameras and uses a more expensive cloud-based video storage system.

Last year, DPD was selected by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be an example of a major city police department that implemented a BWC program through a competitive grant process; which will ultimately help other agencies around the country to develop their own BWC programs.

To that end, DPD received a $1,000,000 grant to fund this initiative. The remainder of the funding for the project is coming from the City of Detroit.

The WatchGuard contract calls for the deployment of 1,500 body-worn cameras to cover all patrol and investigative officers in the Department, as well as 450 in-vehicle cameras.

Next month, DPD will deploy the first 50 body cameras and 20 vehicle cameras in the 4th and 7th precincts. This 60-day assessment of the new system will be to assess its functionality in real-world conditions and be done at no cost to the city.

Full deployment will begin in August and is expected to be completed within 14 months.

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