Antioch Councilman Barbanica working to get body and car cameras for Antioch Police Department

AXON police body and car cameras. Photos: AXON

His research shows they will cost less than the six SRO’s; Ogorchock supports the cameras and has requested them going back several  years; Torres-Walker also supports body cameras

By Allen Payton

Since before he took office on Dec. 8, District 2 Antioch City Councilman Mike Barbanica has been pursuing body cameras for each Antioch police officer, as well as cameras for each police car. He’s been doing research into the costs for the Antioch Police Department.

In a January 8 post on his council Facebook page Barbanica wrote, “This week I requested that police body cams were to be placed on the agenda this coming council meeting. I know this is supported by many in the public and also supported by the Chief and the APOA representatives that I have spoken with. Let’s hope that it gets on there and we can take a big step towards continued transparency for all.”

When reached for further details he shared, “I have spoken with other agencies, with the APOA (Antioch Police Officers Association), with Chief Brooks about the system, asking how many cameras we will need and how many cars APD uses.”

“I have been in contact with AXON, which used to be just a taser company,” Barbanica said. “They provided me with pricing to outfit every officer and every car, and a taser system that will automatically activate the camera system when it’s drawn.”

“They offer a five-year contract. At 2.5 years we would automatically have each body camera replaced with the latest technology. Then again at the five-year mark,” he explained. “This package, each year, would cost us less than what we would have spent on the SRO’s and we’d still have money left over.” Barbanica was referring to the six School Resource Officers for which the council majority voted to rescind the federal grant, last month.

“I didn’t get an official quote on behalf of the city. But they provided me one based on the size of our city,” he continued. “With unlimited storage, this system would cost the city for year one $330-340,000 and years two through year five $320-330,000.”

Antioch Police Department is one of only four agencies in the county to not have police body cameras, along with the Martinez PD, Lafayette PD and the Sheriff’s Department.

“The CHP doesn’t have body cams,” Barbanica added. “But they’ve developed an internal policy allowing officers to buy their own.”

“We are the second largest city in the county. Why don’t we have body cameras?” he asked. “If we’re wanting transparency for our city, this is a first, great step. It’s a need. We don’t need to wait until after the Bridging the Gap forums. We have the funds available. Why aren’t we acting on this?”

Barbanica has made several requests hoping to have the matter on tonight’s council meeting agenda. But the agenda is already full, with 22 consent calendar items and eight other regular agenda items.

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock has also asked for the matter to be placed on a council meeting agenda, as recently as the end of the December 8 meeting. She also asked for the matter to be put on the agenda, in the past, going back to when Allan Cantando was Chief of Police. But there wasn’t enough funds in the budget, then.

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker has also expressed support for body cameras for the police.

It takes three council members to vote to approve the police body and car cameras. Those members of the public who also support cameras for the Antioch Police Department and want the matter placed on the next council meeting agenda for Tuesday, Jan. 26 can contact Mayor Lamar Thorpe via email at lthorpe@ci.antioch.ca.us or make a public comment during tonight’s council meeting by completing the request form, on the City’s website, here. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

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