Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert wants answers about the rollout of a body camera program worth nearly a million dollars for Bexar County deputies. Calvert wants to know why only 40 cameras are being used of the 300 or so that were bought from a company called Utility about two years ago.
In a fiery press release he posted on Facebook, Calvert asks Bexar County tax payers to support a new anti-corruption clause to the county's body camera contract. Tuesday the court will vote on whether to switch vendors. In 2015, the court voted to give BCSO, under then Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, almost $820,000 to buy body cameras from a company called Utility.
Now, Sheriff Javier Salazar wants the court to switch vendors to a company called Axon. Calvert says Axon has a history of offering perks to county officials who give them contracts for the cameras.
"I pray that it isn't happening in Bexar County. I began to feel the need that we needed an anti-corruption clause on this particular case. It would ban not only gifts, but also hiring of officers of Bexar County and consultants and lobbyists within five years," Calvert said.
Calvert says buying body cameras from Axon would cost $4 million more. The $820,000 already spent on cameras from Utility and a $500,000 state grant that was lost would all go down the drain.
"There are maybe about 40 of those utility cameras in use, but the remaining 150 or 200 or so are on a shelf and I think they could be easily used," Calvert said.
A spokesperson from BCSO says they support the anti-corruption clause Calvert has proposed and that they haven't taken any gifts or travel from Axon. They did not respond to questions about why they wanted to switch vendors to Axon or why the Utility cameras weren't being used.