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O’Fallon approves modern tools for police

The O’Fallon City Council has approved the implementation of 100 body cameras and 42 in-car camera systems, plus the associated management software and cloud storage required to operate those systems for the police department. The council also approved the construction of a “Defensive Tactics Room” in the city’s Justice Center.

In total, the city is investing $1.068 million to provide these modern tools.

At its March 25 meeting, the council passed Resolution 03-25-2021D by a vote of 9-0 (Ward 5 council member Katie Gatewood had recused herself from the meeting immediately after her Ward Report comments). The resolution authorizes a 5-year agreement with Utility Associates, Inc. to provide the cameras and implement the systems, for a cost not to exceed $818,630. Over those five years, the cost will be $163,726 per year.

The council had approved the purchase of body cameras and in-car cameras in the city’s 2021 budget, to be purchased from Use Tax funds.

According to a police department memo to the council, city staff had recommended purchasing body-worn cameras and in-car cameras from Utility Associates Inc. as a sole source provider, because Utility Associates offers a feature set that is not offered by any other provider at this time.   

Negotiations with the company set the five-year cost at $818,630, which was $85,131 below the best rate that could be found by using a national purchasing cooperative, which in this case was Buy Board at $903,761. 

The department believes this solution will modernize the equipment used by the police and will install a high level of transparency between it and the public it serves.

Just prior to the vote, council member Dave Hinman (Ward 1) looked to the audience in the council chamber and on O’Fallon TV, and said, “Congratulations to the residents, because this would not have gone through without the help of a group that put together a great campaign to bring forward the correct information about the benefits to our police department from this. Chief (Philip DuPuis), thank you for your work on this. I think this is going to be great for officers and our citizens.”

Defensive Tactics Training Room Layout (Source: City of O’Fallon)

At the same meeting, by a vote of 9-0, the city council also approved Resolution 03-25-2021E to authorize a contract with Aspire to construct a defensive tactics training room in the Justice Center, for an amount not to exceed $249.675. 

That amount is within the available remaining budget for the project after the design architect’s fees are paid.

According to the resolution documents, the project scope was finalized by city and police staff in late 2020 for the build-out of approximately 3,500 square feet of the southern second-floor area of the Justice Center, which includes approximately 2,000 square feet of a spring mat flooring system to accommodate multiple variations of training for officers. 

The new facility will include a heavy bag system, a room dedicated for a new state of the art virtual driving simulator, a tiered seating section for space to combine the need for video instruction with the hand-to-hand training needs, the build-out of a training coordinator office, and a storage room.

In October 2020, after some debate, the council had approved the use of seizure funds for the project. The total approved was $300,000.

Of three evaluated firms, Police Facility Design Group was selected as the design architect and used to create the layout and specifications in mid-January 2021. 

The city then executed a competitive bid process from Jan. 22 to Feb. 18.  From nine bids, the city staff and design architect determined that Aspire Construction Services, LLC, (Aspire) was the best to perform the work.

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