St. Charles committee OKs $2.8 million plan for police body cameras, training center

St. Charles Government Operations Committee has recommended approval of body-worn cameras, in-car cameras and Tasers for the police department, as well as a construction contract for a new training facility, for a total cost of more than $2.8 million.

The department intends to purchase 62 body-worn cameras for about $1 million, 20 in-car video systems for $514,584, and 12 Tasers for $71,486, all from police equipment manufacturer Axon Enterprise Inc.

St. Charles police officers do not currently wear body-worn cameras, but they will be required to under state law by Jan. 1, 2025. Under the law, body-worn cameras must be turned on at all times when officers are interacting with citizens.

Under the purchase agreements for the body-worn and in-car camera systems, the city would enter into 10-year contracts with Axon.

The purchases are set to go before city council for final approval Dec. 18.

Police officials also are seeking approval of a construction contract to build a new training facility on the police shooting range lot west of the Tri-Comm Central Dispatch Center at 3823 Karl Madsen Drive, just south of Route 38.

Under the contract, the city would pay about $1.24 million to KWCC Construction Inc., of Montgomery, for the construction of the St. Charles Police Department Regional Tactical Training Center, which would service over 30 law enforcement agencies in the surrounding area.

The 3,800-square-foot facility would feature classrooms for virtual reality and simulator training, four bathrooms and a garage area for storage and gun cleaning. There will be no ammunition or weapons stored in the new facility, officials say.

Police Chief James Keegan said the facility would be funded by a state grant and private donations. The department has received a $1.1 million grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and $165,000 in donations from the Kara Foundation and Wayne Jimerson, for a total of $1,265,000 raised for the project.

Keegan said if the contract is approved, the department would like to start construction as soon as possible, with an goal of having the center substantially complete and operational by June 2024.

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