SALISBURY – New body cameras and Tasers are expected to benefit the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.
On Wednesday, the Wicomico County Council approved the department’s request to authorize Axon Enterprise Inc. as a sole source vendor and to waive the formal competitive bidding process for the purchase of body cameras and Tasers at a cost to exceed $25,000.
“This [company] was authorized as a sole source vendor in August of 2018 for the Department of Corrections to purchase Tasers,” Council Administrator Laura Hurley said. “This request is now coming before you from the sheriff’s department, seeking to purchase body cameras as well as Tasers.”
In a statement submitted to the county council, department heads explained the need for new devices.
“Current Tasers are aging and needing repairs, [and] we are looking into purchasing the upgraded version/model,” the statement reads.
Officials with the department also noted the seamless transition to new Axon equipment.
“Sworn personnel have familiarity with this product,” the statement reads. “The Axon Camera proprietary software functions seamlessly with equipment (Tasers), along with a cloud based data storage system (evidence.com), currently deployed or utilized by the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office The purchase of a different manufacturer’s product would create additional expense to the County in the form of training, software, and data storage. [The] product was field tested by WCSO and found to be superior in quality, functionality, durability, and an overall better value compared to other camera systems previewed.”
Councilman Larry Dodd said the vendor was a notable company and that police departments often used Axon’s body cameras.
“A lot of times that you see a video from a body camera on TV you will see that Axon is inscribed on it,” he said. “So it’s used across the country quite a bit.”
The council voted 6-0, with Councilman Josh Hastings absent, to approve the department’s request.