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Council to consider police body cameras

By Staff | Nov 13, 2014

Several lively discussions are expected during Monday’s City Council meeting at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.

One resolution will be presented for council to either approve or reverse a decision by the Board of Zoning Adjustment & Appeals regarding a marine canopy variance. The zoning board rejected the application for a variance of four feet over the maximum canopy height to 18 feet in order to cover an existing boat.

The real meat of the meeting likely will come during the new business portion of the agenda when Police Chief Bart Connelly will ask council to approve a contract to purchase and fund body cameras for the department.

The technology included a small camera worn on an officer’s uniform, glasses or hat to record the officer’s activity. The devices are touted as protection for officers and the city, reinforcing public trust, increases agency transparency, improves criminal prosecutions. They may prevent excessive force complaints or false allegations against officers.

Connelly is proposing the purchase of 60 camera systems to be deployed primarily in the patrol division. The first-year cost of the five-year contract would be $88,728. Subsequent years require payments of $49,812 with the total expenditure estimated at nearly $288,000.

CRA recommendations up for discussion include approval of Councilmember Rana Erbrick as CRA chair and Jim Burch as vice-chair. They also will discuss the military tribute banner program for the Cape Coral Parkway corridor.

City Manager John Szerlag’s employee contract with the city is up for his annual performance review. The three-year contract was signed on April 9, 2012, and expires on May 28, 2015, with automatic one-year renewals unless either party provides notice of non-renewal at least six months prior to the expiration of the current term.

Szerlag also will recommend a municipal flag protocol for the city after receiving reaction last month over the lack of tribute for a deceased employee.

The city also will recognize the completion of a landscaping improvement project at the Southwest RO?Water Treatment plant working through a partnership endeavor with the Southwest Cape Coral Neighborhood Association.