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Culpeper Times • March 24-30, 2016

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Body Worn Cameras to be considered in town budget By Anita L. Sherman STAFF WRITER

Town Manager Chris Hively presented his proposed FY17 budget to town council members at a special meeting held last Thursday, March 17. With a proposed operating budget of roughly $16M one proposed item could necessitate a tax increase. Two of the highest priorities in his budget are a proposed merit pay increase of 2 percent costing $129,221. The other is body worn cameras coming in at $110,035. This amount would replace aging in-car cameras and electronic weapons (tasers) in an integrated approach including the body worn cameras. “This is not Ferguson,” voiced councilman Pranas Rimeikis who urged his fellow councilman to take a close look at the purchase of body worn cameras in terms of the costs. “The jury is still out on the real benefits when you think of the costs.” Hively shared with members that beyond the initial purchase costs, it is estimated that an additional $57,000 could be used annually for maintenance and storage costs.

“I think that people may have gotten the wrong impression. I’m in favor of them but I want the public to be fully aware of the costs and what that will mean.”.” Pranas Rimeikis Culpeper Town Council New to council Jamie Clancey did not voice opposition but wondered at the possibility of getting grants to help defray the costs. Rimeikis later qualified his remarks. “I think that people may have gotten the wrong impression,” said Rimeikis Tuesday. “I’m in favor of them but I want the public to be fully aware of the costs and what that will mean.” Other jurisdictions While the subject of equipping the town’s police with body cameras may be new territory in Culpeper, other Virginia jurisdictions have moved or are moving in that direction. The Town of Leesburg’s town

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TASER International’s Axon Body Worn Camera would be the equipment of choice. It is worn on the chest. manager Kaj Dentler has proposed adding $200,000 to their FY proposed budget but would defer the expenditure until later in FY17 when a new Chief of Police is hired. Outgoing Chief Joseph Price is supportive of the request and believes the body cameras will work in concert with in-car cameras. For the Leesburg Police Depart-

ment it’s about safety, accountability and transparency. In Virginia’s capital city of Richmond, the police department applied and received funding to purchase body cameras from the Governor’s Office on Criminal Justice. In February of this year, 40 ➤ See Cameras, Page 6

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Culpeper Times - March 24th, 2016  

Culpeper Times - March 24th, 2016