Lake Havasu City Police Department forged ahead with a five-year contract and payment plan to outfit its 83 sworn officers and jailers after purchasing 92 new TASER X2s and rig up 56 officers after purchasing 58 AXONFlex on-officer video cameras.
Police officials anticipate the TASER upgrades will be fully implemented on every officer working the street — from rank of sergeant and below — by July of this year. The equipment arrived at the police department early last week.
“Every officer has the new model TASER,” said Lake Havasu City Police Chief Dan Doyle. “We’re converting everybody over to the new model.”
There are four instructors within the department certified to train the officers on the new model TASER before they’re deployed. The training is a few hours and is presented as an in-service-type transition to the officers, said police department spokesman Sgt. Troy Stirling.
“They’re wider in size, the grip is a little different, and the cartridges of TASERS are inside the unit,” Stirling said.
The older models required officers to remove the cartridges in order to test fire the unit at the beginning of each shift. Now, they won’t have to. The unit doesn’t have to be dissembled for the test fire.
In each new unit, there are two cartridges, which prevent the officers from having to reload in the case of a misfire. The new TASERs have an increased distance capability. It shoots 25 feet compared to the older model’s 21-foot capability. The new units also can be discharged at two individuals at once.
“It has two-target capability,” Stirling said.
For example, in the case that the TASER has been fired at a subject, the officer can flip a switch and fire the second TASER cartridge at a different subject. The switch can toggle between the two cartridges delivering the conducted energy to each individual subject at will.
“It’s just the technology getting better,” Doyle said.
The department’s equipment upgrades are rolled into a contract with TASER that stipulates warranty replacement of units, maintenance and a payment plan.
The plan includes 92 TASERs that each of the department’s 83 sworn officers will be outfitted with. The remaining units will be assigned to jailers or used as back-up units.
The 58 AXON on-officer cameras will outfit 56 officers.
According to earlier reports, the police department enrolled two police officers in a countywide on-officer video pilot program in July 2010. In December 2010, police officials chose to implement the technology and outfitted a dozen police officers with the on-officer video equipment.
In February 2012, police officials reported 21 officers were policing city streets with on-officer video during all shifts.
Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, or AZPOST, helps to fund Havasu’s on-officer video program in exchange for the footage. The videos are used for training. So far, a few thousand videos have been provided for that purpose, Doyle said.
The footage is stored virtually at evidence.com, which is part of maintenance fees for each on-officer video unit. The videos are downloaded and cataloged by officer. Each unit is specifically dedicated to one officer.
“It actually saves quite a bit of money,” Doyle said. “We were looking at having to replace all of our TASERs.”
Before the purchase, police officers in Havasu were outfitted with the TASER X26. The warranties on the lot were coming to an end.
Individually, one new TASER X2 retails for $1,400. In short, the overall purchase breakdown shows the police department saving about $76,000. However, the contract stipulates replacement of all units at the end of the five-year contract.
Equipment replacement costs at the contract’s end were calculated at $181,000. The contract’s replacement perk increases the financial savings to the city to be around $257,000, according to financial comparison statistics provided by the police department.
Including the $30,000 for 58 new AXONFlex on-officer video cameras, the contract’s equipment overall total rings in at about $125,000. Replacement and payment clauses are calculated at about $323,000 for the contract’s five-year duration.
The five-year payment plan is based on repayment of $448,000, or about $89,000 annually.
By comparison, the overall retail-purchase calculations for the equipment package and replacement costs were projected at a one-time payment of about $556,000.
Doyle projects that technology will catch up soon enough to outfit all local police officers with a tablet or smart-phone-type of device to make each one self-sufficient while in the field.
“It would provide complete mobility for that officer,” Doyle said.
The right device potentially could eliminate paperwork and administrative duties that take police officers from the street and keep them from responding to or investigating incidents.
At this time, a few devices are being tested for such capabilities.
“It’s about being more efficient,” Doyle said. “The technology is out there, but it’s also having that affordable item to do what we want to do.”
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