Was Taser the only company selling Body Cameras and is there another product being sold?
As everyone knows retired APD Chief and now Taser employee Ray Schultz helped Taser get a $1,950,000 contract with the City of Albuquerque for body cameras for APD. We all know that currently the Albuquerque Inspector General, the New Mexico Office of State Auditor, the New Mexico Attorney General and possibly the Department of Justice are investigating Schultz and Taser for pay to play. Finally the check and balances citizens depend upon seem to be working.
Or so we hope.
It seems we have bought a Taser product that has problems. So many times there are no APD videos because of Taser camera malfunction and when there is a video all we see are the officers’ armpits or the people standing to the right of the officer. Very rarely do we see the actual event.
We would then assume that all police departments are having this same problem, and we would be wrong. Albuquerque’s smaller neighbor, Los Lunas Police Department just upgraded to HD body cameras. A report from KOB TV shows that LLPD was so satisfied with their original product that they have upgraded the cameras. How can this be? Schultz told the City of Albuquerque that the Taser Body Camera contract had to be “sole source” meaning that no other company manufactured this type of product but ONLY Taser.
Did LLPD buy the Taser body camera? NO! LLPD were good stewards of the public money and actually researched their product choices and made the best decision based upon the product and the cost, not the kickback and promise of future employment. The MUVI-LE PRO (made by Veho-World) was one of the most affordable body cameras on the market with a MSRP of $249.95 and $119.95 for the Micro version. Compare this to the Axon Flex (what Schultz sold to Albuquerque) coming in at $499! Not to mention the big money that Taser makes on the multi-year contract with Albuquerque for Evidence.com. Evidence.com is Taser’s “cloud” that all APD video is uploaded to. This is where the big money comes into play. It’s not just that the cameras cost more than double other and possibly better cameras on the market, it is the tethering of Albuquerque to a multi-year contract for Evidence.com. First we pay a premium for a inferior product, then we pay monthly fees like an expensive condo package.
By doing this Taser has its teeth into Albuquerque forever. Because Taser is holding our video recordings, our evidence. If the city were to end the contract with Taser in five years, what would happen to all those videos uploaded to Evidence.com? Nobody knows and that is scary.
Can you see why Taser wanted to get Schultz on their side? By getting Schultz to claim this was a sole source contract there was no review of the competition. By getting Schultz in bed with them, Taser signed the largest contract in Taser history ($1,950,000). By getting Schultz to convince the city that Evidence.com is the way to go, Taser has guaranteed they will be getting Albuquerque money for years to come, maybe forever. Albuquerque could have easily created their own cloud storage for the videos. Why didn’t they? Does anyone think it is a good idea to have third party manage evidence storage of any type? Does anyone think it is a good idea to sign a contract with a company who may not give back the evidence if their contract is ended? What would this do to Chain of Custody? Evidence.com is a nightmare scenario for Albuquerque criminal justice if Albuquerque Police ever decide they don’t want it. That means Taser Evidence.com can (and probably will) raise the price when the contract is up.
What is Albuquerque going to do about it?
And let’s not forget Taser guns. They were bought by APD because Taser convinced Schultz that using Taser guns would reduce the number of lethal encounters with police and reduce the number of abuse complaints. Open the DOJ report and you will see that police shootings in Albuquerque are up, WAY UP. Six pages of this report were used to detail Taser abuse by police officers. We didn’t have these issues prior to Taser coming to town, is it time to say Taser is a failure? The recent video of the student who lost a testicle in a fight with an APD officer shows the officer initially threatening the citizen with a Taser after he said “sit down” almost 18 times. What ever happened to command presence?
Do any of you citizens think it is a good idea to do business with a company who buys off police chiefs? Who own OUR evidence? Whose product fails at an alarming rate? Whose stun guns have cost us millions but have not reduced the number of police shootings but have increased the number of stun gun abuses?
The city council must void the Taser contracts as quickly as possible to avoid Albuquerque being on the hook to Taser for years to come. This is easily done once the Inspector General, etc find that laws and rules were violated by Schultz and Taser. Taser is the new law enforcement industrial complex and Albuquerque is going to be owned by Taser. Don’t believe me? Just wait……….