Not surprisingly demand for Body Worn Cameras are in very high demand from police departments nationwide. Onvia studied the data their research uncovers daily from states, cities, and municipalities nationwide and provided a summary of what the numbers are, devoid of emotion or opinion.
‘Body Worn Camera Procurement Intensifies for Law Enforcement’
In the wake of controversial and high profile police activity, there have been numerous reports that police departments across the country have stepped up calls for body worn cameras (BWCs). The police in the City of Ferguson in Missouri started wearing BWCs three weeks after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014, when vendors Safety Vision and Digital Ally donated about 50 body cameras to the department. Other cities that are accelerating efforts to outfit patrol officers include Sacramento, CA, New York, NY and smaller counties such as Bastrop County near Austin in Texas.
Onvia has a large database of procurement activity and spending plans from more than 80,000 entities in the U.S. Onvia first reported on BWCs in May 2014 but with the recent events, we decided to take another look into body camera procurement trends. Onvia’s Purchase Order Analytics indicates that there was increased activity in 2014 for BWC purchases. Our research found over 3,400 purchase orders for BWCs and related services made in 2014 as opposed to 533 purchase orders in 2013. More than 53% of the purchases we found were made since July 2014.
Three manufacturers, Taser International, Digital Ally and private company VieVu LLC tend to dominate the BWC market. However, vendors like Pro-Vision Video, Wolfcom and Safety Vision are also making strides in the public sector.
Examples of recently awarded large contracts from Onvia’s Project Center include the City of Livermore in California that awarded Taser International in November 2014 with a five-year term contract worth $279,000 to provide Taser Axon Flex BWCs and one year of Evidence.Com online storage services for BWCs and online data storage services. In the same month, Taser International also won a five-year term contract worth $501,294 from the City of Chula Vista in California for 114 BWCs, docking stations, cloud-based storage of digital video evidence, and support services to assist with implementation, training and data management.
In these still relatively early days of body worn cameras, there are some basic concerns about the effectiveness of the cameras, privacy implications, poor battery life, video storage and if officers remember to turn them on. Vendors should know that most agencies that address these concerns in the RFPs will expect samples and/or demonstrations of the BWCs during the bidding process. Bidding vendors will find very specific system requirements as they apply to capturing video and audio, data storage, usability features, security features, environmental durability, battery, connectivity, accessories, warranties and implementation. Examples of these details in recent bids include the Collin County Community College District in McKinney TX RFP Specifications for 30 BWCs, the Volusia County in Florida RFP Specifications for 180 BWCs and the City of Portland in Oregon RFP Specifications for 600 BWCs.
Looking ahead to the future, Onvia’s Spending Forecast Center revealed increasing activity mainly by local governments to purchase BWCs for law enforcement in the next five years. There is a common theme in nearly all plans and budgets that speak of transparency, accountability, liability and that BWCs will improve relations with citizens and reduce departmental costs.
Examples include the FY 2015-2019 Capital Improvement Plan published in September 2014 for the City of Pasadena in California. The city agency has a $200,000 project scheduled to purchase approximately 200 BWCs for police working in the field and in the jail. The project description says that BWCs are “a necessary component of today’s police work. Body worn cameras capture audio and video evidence of incidents involving police personnel interacting with citizens/suspects. This evidence is crucial when responding to complaints, avoids litigation from false complaints and/or frivolous lawsuits mitigating costs and risk to the City. Recording of critical incidents also provides for more accurate review and analysis for improved training for Department personnel and improved service to the City.”
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Kelly Voss – Onvia Senior Marketing Manager