Companies say body cameras on loan to Arizona, not donated
PHOENIX (AP) — Representatives for Arizona’s governor billed a package of 150 body cameras as a “donation,” which the Arizona Republic reports is actually a pilot program that could result in a lucrative contract for one of the two suppliers donating the cameras.
Axon and WatchGuard will each provide about 75 body cameras for a chance at a government contract down the line.
After an evaluation period, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said it plans on purchasing equipment from one company and sending back the equipment from the other.
Gov. Doug Ducey’s office had previously described the cameras as a “donation” during a September announcement. Axon and WatchGuard representatives said Wednesday they were not donating anything to the state. The two companies said they were loaning the cameras so officers could test them out.
The September announcement by the governor’s office followed the high-profile police shooting of Dion Johnson, a Black man, during a roadside struggle that was not captured on video. Johnson’s death galvanized protesters demonstrating in Phoenix against police misconduct following the May police killing of George Floyd, another Black man, in Minneapolis.
Both companies providing the body cameras have outstanding contracts with the state already, said state Department of Public Safety Sgt. Kameron Lee.
It was not immediately clear Thursday when and where the body cameras would be deployed.