Sikeston city council approves purchase of 17 new body cameras for Sikeston DPS

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

SIKESTON -- Body cameras have become as an essential a part of a Sikeston Department of Public Safety officer's equipment as a gun.

During Monday's regular monthly city council meeting, unanimous approval was given for Sikeston DPS to purchase 17 new Motorola Solutions' body cameras with microphone. The advanced system is designed to simplify workflow management and easily store video and audio files, according to Capt. Jim McMillen, who presented the proposal to the Council.

According to McMillen, officers began testing the Motorola product last August. While he praised Taser Inc., the current camera vendor, McMillen said the Motorola product enabled the department to consolidate equipment by offering the microphone along with the camera.

Another plus to the new equipment, he continued, is that it uses blue tooth technology enabling the system to work with the new fire masks recently approved for purchase. McMillen said this would greatly enhance communication during the dangerous situation fires can pose.

Also in comparing costs over a five-year contract, McMillen said, the plan offered by Motorola was less expensive than Taser Inc.'s proposal.

The cost with the five-year contract, after discounts, is $72,467 and will be paid through the Justice Assistance Grant which Sikeston DPS receives annually, McMillen said. With the purchase, there will be a total of 23 of the new body camera/microphones available for use by officers.

The Council also unanimously approved Sikeston DPS' request for the purchase of 14 fully outfitted tactical vests and 14 tactical gear bags from First Spear.

"We are at the point where our current gear needs to be replaced due to being at the end of its life span," McMillen said, explaining the vests are used by the Tactical Team during dangerous situations including serving warrants.

McMillen said DPS chose First Spear due to the technology of their equipment and being the only vendor to make this specific tactical vest and bag.

The cost for the equipment is $16,433.66. McMillen said thanks to donations from several community organizations, including the Sikeston Jaycees, which recently donated $16,575, the costs of the new vests is covered and will not come from the budget.

In response to a question from Councilman Gerald Settles about the old equipment, McMillen said the old vests are used during training scenarios and used by those riding along with an officer when a situation warrants it.

In other action during Monday's meeting:

* Approval was given for the zoning request from agricultural to single-family residential and creation of a new subdivision of approximately 7.27 acres located generally south of Brunt Boulevard and north of Highway 60.

* The Council unanimously approved entering into a real estate contract for the purchase of 20 acres at a cost of $10,000 per acre and an option to purchase real estate from the Hutcheson-Mainord families for the future construction of a sewer treatment plant or expansion. The land is located east of Ingram Road, south of Helen Street, west of the centerline of St. John's ditch and north of the old County Line Road near the current sewer treatment plant.

During the first reading, city officials were advised while the land is in the city's name, the funds for the purchase are provided by the Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities.

* Council member Ryan Merideth, who is also a member of the city's Tourism Advisory Board, said the board has entered into an agreement with Bold Marketing to create a new advertising campaign. The campaign will use more social media and less newspaper advertising, he said.

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