Bexar County Sheriff deputies will likely wait longer before body cameras are available throughout the force. Tuesday, County Commissioners Court voted to enter a 90-day-period to look at proposals from various body camera companies to find the best permanent solution moving forward.
The previous Sheriff's administration bought those cameras from a company called Utility in 2016. Now, Sheriff Javier Salazar says he wants to purchase new cameras from a company called Axon.
Frustration ran through Commissioners Court Tuesday, as they tried to figure out how to proceed with BCSO's request to switch body camera companies. Purchasing cameras from Axon, Salazar's preferred company, would cost approximately $4 million more. The county already bought cameras for all the patrol deputies for a quarter of that amount. Utility charged the county $890,000.
Salazar has said in previous Commissioners Court sessions that Axon cameras have a wider field of view and more durability, but the county manager pointed out Tuesday that Axon cameras will cost more to maintain and operate than Utility cameras.
In the end, the Commissioners Court voted 3-2 to do a formal request for proposals process from body camera companies to figure out which company to go with. Up until now, they hadn't gone through that process.
"It is transparency in the process to insure that we have good products and good cost estimations and that we have good vendors and that is a positive step in a democratic system," said Tommy Calvert, commissioner from Precinct 4.
In a statement to KENS 5, Sheriff Javier Salzar said, "We expect that the RFP process will delay camera deployment to some extent, however, we respect the direction the Commissioners Court has given. We will work within the guidelines of the process to ensure a fair assessment and efficient deployment."