Antioch City Council rejects new tasers and upgrades
(ANTIOCH, Calif.) The Antioch City Council voted 3-2 to reject a contract with Axon Enterprises that would have upgraded the police department's taser software and technology.
According to the agenda item, the five year contract would have Axon would have ended June 30, 2026. The city would spend $407,118.30 over that five-year period.
The current tasers used by the department, X26P, are somewhat limited compared to newer models that include features like Bluetooth technology that triggers the body camera when the taser is fired and more precise data on the duration and time the taser was used. Additionally, the new tasers would sync with an officer's specific sidearm.
Eight speakers spoke out during public comment, widely condemning the contract and urging the city to spend the money elsewhere.
One written commenter, Cheyenne Kerry, expressed frustration that the city council was looking at this contract after Brooklyn Center police office Kim Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright saying she mistakenly grabbed her gun rather than her taser. Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter in mid April of this year.
Kerry brought up the fact that Potter had served as a safety trainer in her police union and was a long-time department veteran as a way to highlight the danger of the devices. Kerry also highlighted that a full reevaluation of Antioch's police is critical.
"Increasing police funding is not the answer," Kerry said in part.
That point was echoed by the rest of the commenters as well. While some highlighted different points about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, regarding tasers. All eight commenters noted that increased police funding, in any capacity, is not supported by the community.
Councilmember Mike Barbanica, who was a long-time Antioch police officer, spoke in favor of the taser upgrade. He highlighted that the city recently invested a large sum of money to outfit officers with body and dash cameras and sees this contract as somewhat of an extension of that rather than an increase in the overall funding or weaponization of the department.
"...the current tasers could be used and it would not guarantee the body cameras are activated where new technology who pulls a trigger multiple times we will be able to know...," he said in part.
Barbanica and Councilmember Lori Ogorchock voted for the contract while Mayor Thorpe and Councilmembers Tamisha Torres-Walker and Monica Wilson voted against the contract.
In March of this year, the city council voted to approve a $2.8 million five-year contract for body cameras and dash cameras.
The city council also voted 5-0 to delay the appointment of a candidate for the Police Crime Prevention Commission.