WWPD body cameras are up for discussion

By on Monday, January 10th, 2022 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla City Council has a work session today (Monday) at 4 p.m. One of the topics up for discussion is police-worn body cameras.

On Dec. 29, 2021, the city was notified that the Walla Walla Police Department had been selected to receive a total grant over three years for $90,000 towards the acquisition of body-worn cameras for its officers. This grant is through the United States Department of Justice. The city has until January 31 to accept the grant.

In order to receive the most competitive pricing, Axon Enterprises requires a five-year contract. The cost of the contract with Axon is $448,020.  The grant would reimburse the city $30,000 per year over three years for a total of $90,000 to offset of the cost.

If the city decides to start using body cameras, a public disclosure request records clerk will be hired to handle the public disclosure requests that will occur. The five-year cost of a public disclosure records clerk is estimated to be $419,784. Should the council approve the project, the first three years would require an additional $143,561 added to the police department budget. The fourth and fifth year would require an additional $173,561 added to the WWPD budget.  

The council will also vote on amending the city’s municipal code to allow for the first-floor conversion of hotels and motels to residential dwelling units within the central commercial zoning district. This comes after Fortify Holdings of Beaverton told the planning commission that it is under contract to purchase the Budget Inn and Travelodge Inn with the intention of converting these hotels into studio and single-family apartments with amenities for its residents. This code change would allow it to do so. It is the city’s understanding that the sale of these properties has been completed.

The council will also hear the results of last year’s resident satisfaction survey. Since 2013, the city has conducted a resident satisfaction survey. Beginning with the 2015 survey, it has been conducted annually. The city utilizes the resident satisfaction survey as a report card for city operations, evaluating strengths and needs for improvement, as well as what priorities should be considered in the city’s strategic plan.

The public can attend the meeting in person or view the meeting on the city’s website or via Zoom. The meeting ID number is 886 6089 7999.