By Mary Thurwachter
The Lantana Town Council voted unanimously to purchase body cameras for the Police Department.
“We are lucky in that we have a very good force,” council member Karen Lythgoe said at the town’s Oct. 26 meeting. “People I have met are very courteous, caring, very professional and I would like to be able to protect them because I know there are people who are out there who will skew the truth.”
The cost of body cameras for five years is $364,520, according to Police Chief Sean Scheller. Along with the body camera equipment, Scheller said he would need to hire a civilian employee at an additional cost of $67,000 (including benefits) to manage what the chief calls a “labor intensive process.”
More than half of the 23 municipalities in Palm Beach County that have their own police departments are already using body cameras, according to a recent Palm Beach County Justice Commission survey.
Lantana has an agreement with Axon Enterprise, Inc. (formerly Tazer), which provides Tasers and supporting software and management. Axon included 35 cameras, docking stations and new Tasers in the $364,520 quote.
In other news, the town:
• Authorized a one-time $34,240 ($400 per employee) pandemic pay compensation for its staff.
• Asked Town Attorney Max Lohman to research what it would take to set up a nuisance abatement board to deal with frequent illegal activities (drugs, prostitution and aggravated assaults) at motels on Hypoluxo and Lantana roads.