The Auburn City Council unanimously passed Resolution 5624, on Monday, Oct. 18, which allows Mayor Nancy Backus to enter into a contract to purchase body-worn cameras and new Tasers for the Auburn Police Department.
The city will use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to pay for the new equipment, according to the resolution.
The contract is with Axon, one of the largest providers of body-worn cameras to police in the country and the creator of the Taser. The total cost of the new equipment will be over $2.2 million over the next 60 months, according to the contract.
In September, the council adopted a spending plan for the $14.8 million the city received in ARPA funds from the federal government. The funds are intended to help cities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic.
According to the resolution: “U.S. Treasury Department guidance indicates that expenditures toward law enforcement technology and equipment to more efficiently and effectively respond to increased gun violence during the pandemic can meet this stated ARPA purpose.”
The body cameras and new Tasers will allegedly allow Auburn police to more effectively and efficiently respond to gun violence through incident recording and “less lethal” incident response tools, according to the resolution.
In 2020, there were 209 instances in which a gun was used in a crime. In 2019, there were 153, and in 2018 there were 164, according to data from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
Contrary to the claims made in the resolution, Seattle police officers have been equipped with body-worn cameras since 2017, yet there was still an increase in instances of guns used in crimes from 738 in 2019 to 1,004 in 2020.