Overland Park City Council approves no-bid purchase of police body cameras

The Overland Park City Council unanimously approved the purchase of body-worn cameras for the police department Monday night, according to city spokesperson Sean Reilly.

The council voted to skip the bidding process and green light the department’s plan to spend $430,000 to outfit 200 officers with body cameras.

The cameras will be purchased from WatchGuard, the same company from which the city purchased dashboard cameras in 2017.

The department opted to use the same company for both because the technology easily syncs together, according to Police Chief Frank Donchez.

Whenever an officer activates the emergency lights in their police vehicle, the dash camera and body camera will automatically turn on. Similarly, whenever an officer activates the body camera, the dash camera will turn on if it is in range.

Police department officials said at a committee meeting Wednesday that they plan to schedule the camera’s warranties so that the body cameras will be replaced at the same time as the dashboard cameras in three years.

This could open the door to a new bidding process.

“Given the way technology is changing I think that’s a difficult question to answer three years in advance,” Donchez said at the meeting. “There may be a product that is going to come on the market in the next two years that none of us have ever seen or heard of.”

The city allocated $750,000 for the purchase of body cameras. A sum of $430,000 is being used on the initial purchase while the remaining $320,000 will be used for additional storage.

Donchez said he thinks the cameras will be fully implemented by the end of the year.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.