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Searcy spent $790,000 to purchase tasers, bodycams, and dashcams for each cop



Searcy, Arkansas – A $790,000 spending plan authorized by the city council this month will enable all officers in the Searcy Police Department to soon have their own tasers, body cameras, and dash cams.

“It was presented to them on a Monday morning and approved five minutes later,” Searcy Police Chief Steve Hernandez explained.

The new hardware and software that will alter Searcy’s law enforcement, according to the chief, will modernize the agency and make the community safer. He added that it will also meet a need that the department has been working without.

“It’s at the point to some shifts they have more officers than they have tasers,” Hernandez said.

Beyond an outdated arsenal of tasers losing their charge and functionality, safety is a problem. Currently, not every police officer has a body camera of their own.

As an alternative, a camera is dropped off at the police station at the end of one shift and picked up at the beginning of the next. Hernandez clarified that this is a problem.

“If say an officer is coming into work from their house, they may not have a camera on them, but they are not going to bypass a call,” he said.

Officers will now always have a camera on them and another on their patrol car thanks to the improvement. Additionally, they will turn on automatically the moment any taser is removed from its holster.

“With our cameras, you have to turn it on yourself right now. That will eliminate the human error part of it,” the chief admitted. “Double-pressing has happened a lot because you’re trying to hurry up and do it or you think you hit it and you didn’t actually hit it right.”

It won’t be necessary to download the recorded video in order to view it, which would have taken days before. Additionally, the video could only be kept in storage for a short time before it ran out of room.

With the new technology, every new camera has access to nearly endless cloud storage and can turn any computer into a real-time crime center.

“Everything is live in essence,” Hernandez said. “I’m able to look at that officer’s body cam to see what is going on in that call.”

The department as a whole will receive training on tasers shortly after the first shipment of tasers arrives, which is anticipated in January.

Searcy Police’s maintenance budget for tasers and cameras, a $100,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Public Safety Equipment, and extra city revenue over the following five years will cover the $790,000 upgrade.

By agreeing to the purchase before the end of the year, Searcy and its police department were able to save $259,873.

Henandez said, “Cameras are crucial to the Searcy Police Department doing its duties as well as the teasers for the officer’s protection.

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