Austin police body cam injunction lifted by appeals court

TASER body camera (TASER website Photo)
TASER body camera (TASER website Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A court injunction blocking the Austin Police Department from buying body cameras has been lifted.

A state appeals court ruled against Utility Associates, which sued the city of Austin to block the $12 million contract with Taser International.

“We are pleased with the appellate court’s decision,” the city’s Communications and Public Information Office said. “The ruling gives the city flexibility in the way it chooses to implement its body worn camera program, a program identified as a priority for Austin residents, City Council and the Austin Police Department.”

Utility sued the city in July 2016, claiming the bidding process was rigged against them. A month later a judge decided to grant a temporary injunction on the body cam purchase. Utility argued their bid was $3 million less than Taser’s bid and met all the technical requirements.

The city responded that they were disappointed by the injunction, after the city said they went through an exhaustive review process for the body cam procurement.

Last month, the city’s purchasing department proposed City Council approve a far less expensive body camera purchase, but with the same vendor.

In its first year, the TASER deal was going to cost $1.5 million to outfit 500 officers, KXAN reported last summer. The new proposal would allow the city to buy 724 cameras for $925,000.

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