Lavonia Police Asking for Budget Amendment for New In-Car Cameras

The Lavonia Police are asking the City for a budget amendement to fund new cameras for their cruisers.

At their work session this week, the City Council, Mayor Courtney Umbehant, and City Manager Charles Cawthon heard from Assistant Police Chief Daniel Carson about a new type of camera that would provide the kind of video record officers need but at a better price than what they’ve been paying.

Carson said two of the cruisers were not outfitted with inside cameras because they were too expensive at $3250 each plus $15000 to pay for automatic uploads.

He said he found another company, Digital Labs, that offered a better price.

“I looked at Digital Labs and got a quote from them. Digital Labs is what we currently use for our body cameras. For the phone system, automatic upload system, automatic storage, everything is included with that. The quote from them is for the in-car system itself per user. That cost is $10,800. The cost for an actual kit, the cameras that go inside the vehicles, is $675 each. So, we can outfit every vehicle that we have that needs a camera for $8,100, a little more than it was going to cost just for two cameras with the former system,” he explained.

The total cost he said would be $20,400 upfront with an annual cost of approximately $10,000 for video upload and storage.

“Another good thing about this product is the chain of custody for evidence. We can’t access it. So, if we’re ever up on the stand and they say, ‘Well you manipulated this footage’ we don’t have access to it. There’s no way possible we can,” he said.

Lavonia Police Chief Shane Edmisten the price quoted is much less compared to other camera systems for law enforcement.

Approval by the City Council would require a budget amendment. After hearing from Carson and the Chief, the Council took no action on their request.