LIMA — A second round of bids will be opened July 10 by Lima City Council as the legislative body attempts to fulfill its commitment to purchase body cameras for all members of the Lima Police Department.
Council earlier this year agreed in principle to purchase the body cameras. The initial estimated cost was set at approximately $300,000, but Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin on Monday said the cost could go higher after the first round of bids was rejected.
Requests For Proposals went out this spring after city council determined the use of body cameras would be beneficial to officers and at the same time would show a level of accountability to the public when police actions were called into question.
A list of specifications was drawn up by city officials after months of research into the various types of body cameras on the market and determining which would best serve the police department. Martin said 13 bids were received by the council, “and none of them met the specs contained in the Request For Proposal, so all were rejected.”
The chief said a new set of specifications was drawn up and bids have been solicited for a second time. Next month when the bids are opened, it will be much clearer just how close the city is to equipping its officers, he said.
Will the Lima Police Department have body cameras in use sometime in 2018? The chief answered with a quick and resounding “yes.” But the overall cost remains less clear.
Martin said department officials are determined to make all police devices — body cameras, dashboard cruiser cameras and body microphones — compatible and comprehensive. City council was alerted to the department’s desire to have a fully-integrated system prior to the second Requests For Proposal being posted.
“Body cameras will not always tell the entire story every time, but it will help the officer and will help the community see the officer’s actions,” said Maj. Angel Cortes, who heads up the investigative services arm of the LPD’s detective bureau and serves as the department’s second-in-command. “It provides more transparency for everyone. I think the cameras will absolutely help us, but if the officer does indeed do his job correctly, the people [community] need to accept that.”
Martin said Sgt. Nick Hart, who has been involved in two of the most recent, high-profile incidents in which the allegation of excessive police force has been raised, is “one of our biggest proponents of body cams.”
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.