Port Neches to talk funds for body cameras

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016

PORT NECHES — Port Neches Police are moving through the steps to acquire body cameras for officers.

The Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office informed Port Neches Police Department back in January they were selected for a Body-Worn Camera Grant, PNPD Chief Paul Lemoine said. The preliminary allocation is $14,700 and is limited to expenditures for body-worn cameras and the associated video storage and equipment. State law requires a 25 percent match, which totals $3,675 for a total project cost of $18,275.

Lemoine intends to use asset forfeiture seizure funds for the matching portion.

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But first, city council must approve a resolution regarding the issue. Council will discuss the approval of the resolution during the 4 p.m. meeting on Thursday at city hall, 1005 Merriman St.

“The body-worn camera program will serve as a tool in a law enforcement comprehensive problem-solving approach to enhance officer interactions with the public, build community trust and gather important evidence for use in the prosecution of crimes,” Lemoine said.

As a condition of the funding PNPD will have to file an initial report with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement within 30 days of the date they request reimbursement of grant funds and then again at 12, 24 and 36 months after the initial report. They will also be required to report any public complaints filed, use of force incidents and arrests for certain offenses.

In addition, Lemoine must have developed a plan and put policy in place for the body-worn camera program that ensures they are activated for law enforcement purposes only, guidelines as to when to activate and privacy concerns, data retention, storage, data security, open records guidelines, supervisory review and the adopted policy’s must be consistent with the federal and Texas rules of evidence.

Lemoine said the cameras would be used by 14-front line officers.

“We expect to receive the body-worn cameras by early fall and be fully functional by the end of the year,” he said.

Nederland, Groves, Port Arthur and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will also apply for the grants.

Other agenda items include:

  • Discuss and take action regarding the approval of a resolution authorizing publication of notice of intent to issue certificates of obligation; approving the preparation of a preliminary official statement and a notice of sale; and approving other matters incidental thereto.
  • Discuss and take actin regarding the approval of a request from Motiva Enterprises LLC for the waiver of penalties and interest for 2013 inventory.
  • Discuss and take action regarding the approval of an ICMA Retirement Corporation Governmental Profit-Sharing Plan and Trust Adoption Agreement for the city’s 401(a) supplemental retirement plan.
  • Discuss and take action regarding the acceptance of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2014-2015.
  • Discuss and take action regarding the approval of an ordinance approving a rate increase settlement with Texas Gas Service.
  • Discuss and take action regarding the approval of the Effie and Wilton Hebert Public Library Long Range Plan and a corresponding amendment to the library policy handbook.