Wilmington Mayor waiting on federal funds for body-worn cameras

Mike Purzycki has pledged that should the federal grant be denied, he is committed to asking City Council to appropriate the remaining funding needed for implementation from City assets.

WILMINGTON (DE) 10/02/20: It’s been over three months since Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki promised a body-worn camera program for his more than 315 member Wilmington Police force.

There’s been some set backs but Purzycki says, the program will happen one way or the other should the city be denied a federal grant to support the program.

The Purzycki Administration-sponsored $400,000 budget amendment to the General Fund, which would help cover staffing costs of a new police body-worn camera program, was approved Thursday night by Wilmington City Council.

PHOTO | Mayor Mike Purzycki

According to a release from the city of Wilmington, local funding is now in place for police body cameras, the City is awaiting word as to whether it will receive a half-million-dollar federal grant to support the program.

Mayor Mike Purzycki has pledged that should the federal grant be denied, he is committed to asking City Council to appropriate the remaining funding needed for implementation from City assets.

Introduced tonight for Council’s consideration was a contract between the City and Axon Enterprise, Inc., totaling nearly $2 million to cover costs over the next five years for the purchase of body cameras and other equipment and for related services needed to implement and manage the program., the release said.

The contract will be reviewed by the Council Finance Committee on Monday. Mayor Mike Purzycki and Police Chief Robert J. Tracy have said that once implemented, body cameras will be worn by all Wilmington Police Department (WPD) uniformed personnel.

Chief Tracy said police policies that will guide the operation and management of the body camera program, as well as the storage and sharing of video and other administrative requirements, are being developed by the WPD.

They will be reviewed by the City’s Law and Human Resources (HR) Departments, shared with the police union—FOP Lodge #1—and then made public.

The WPD’s authorized staffing will increase to 319 officers from 315 to provide proper supervision of the new police body camera program.

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