Grand Rapids buys body cameras for some off-duty police

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Police officers in Grand Rapids who are part of a Special Response Team will soon have a second body camera to carry with them when they're off-duty.

City commissioners have agreed to spend more than $15,300 to buy nearly 20 additional cameras for the team, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

The team often responds to emergencies when off-duty.

Buying more cameras would allow the team to respond directly to incidents instead of having to first go to the police station to retrieve a camera.

"They're our emergency response," Sgt. Terry Dixon said. "They're our Navy SEALS. They are highly trained. When we call them usually there's an immediate need for their services — that's why they're coming from home."

Dixon says the officers are "completely mobile" and bring the majority of their gear and cars home. He said that those officers respond to critical incidents including hostage situations and barricaded gunmen.

The spokesman said that the additional body cameras will be enough to rotate devices through the department to allow the team to take a camera home. After the incident, they would return the cameras to the docking station and pick up a recharged camera to take home.

The city signed a three-year contract with Axon Enterprise in 2015 to purchase cameras for every officer. It also includes software, maintenance and support. The first year of the contract cost more than $500,000 and the second year nearly $370,000.

The additional body cameras will result in the annual contract's cost to be more than $372,000.

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