Lenexa Police upgrade body cams, which will now record automatically if officer’s gun is drawn

The Lenexa Police Department has brought a slew of technology equipment under a single contract that includes enhancements for its officer-worn body cameras. Photo courtesy Lenexa Police Department.

The Lenexa Police Department has brought a slew of technology equipment, included body cameras worn by officers, under a single contract.

The Lenexa City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed for the city to execute a $1.1 million agreement with Axon Enterprise Inc. for the purchase and maintenance of the following:

  • body-worn cameras
  • in-car dash cameras
  • a digital evidence management system
  • Tasers

Lenexa Police previously had five separate contracts with different termination dates with Axon.

The new single agreement terminates in five years. Ending those contracts and entering one single agreement also ensures all products and services are governed by the same terms and bundled into a lower pricing package.

Body camera enhancements

The agreement comes with new technology enhancements for officers’ body cameras.

The new technology upgrades will automatically cause Lenexa officers’ body-worn cameras to start recording when an officer draws his or her firearm from the holster. It will also begin recording on all body-worn cameras that are within 30 feet of an officer who has drawn their weapon.

Chief Dawn Layman said the body-worn cameras also go back 30 seconds prior to an officer’s firearm being drawn when recording an incident to ensure an incident is more fully captured.

“Sometimes, things happen very dynamically, very quickly,” said Layman outside the city council chambers Tuesday, where two officers stood on guard. “Like right now, these officers, their body-worn cameras are not on. They’re not contacting anybody, they’re not doing anything.

“However, if somebody ran through that door right now with a gun, do you think these guys are really going to think about turning on their body-worn camera? They’re probably going to think about drawing their weapon first, and now that’ll actually trigger the body-worn camera,” she said.

Other agreement details

The new consolidated agreement also allows  for the following:

  • upgrades to the officers’ Tasers, so that they each will have two deployments instead of just one
  • random review of video of officers’ performance in the field
  • future upgrades to cameras and Tasers at the 24- to 30-month mark