EAU CLAIRE — A local nonprofit organization is donating about $950,000 to buy new video systems for Eau Claire law enforcement — including the addition of body-worn cameras — and pay for annual upkeep costs through 2025.
Eau Claire-based PESI, which produces seminars, conference and training materials for adult continuing education, decided it would fund the new equipment and initial years of costs to maintain it.
“It just fit right and felt right for our company and our staff,” said Mike Conner, PESI’s executive director.
Though video cameras for law enforcement isn’t a part of PESI’s business, Conner said the nonprofit looks for causes where it can make a difference in the community it’s been a part of for more than 40 years.
“What better way to give back than to be able to do this donation and impact so many people in the community,” he said.
The new video system that PESI is buying will replace an obsolete one that has been in use in Eau Claire Police Department and Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office squad cars and interview rooms. It will also provide body cameras, which had not previously been used by law enforcement in Eau Claire.
During its Tuesday afternoon meeting, the City Council is scheduled to vote on accepting PESI’s donation and on a contract for that new system.
After evaluating bids from seven vendors, the city is poised to award the contract to Axon Enterprise of Scottsdale, Ariz.
The company priced the system at $482,700, which PESI is prepared to fully pay for with the first part of its donation. There will then be $116,700 in annual maintenance costs, which PESI will cover for the next four years through the rest of its donation.
Following that though, the city and county governments will need to find money in their budgets to pay for the ongoing annual costs to maintain the system and for cloud storage of the digital video files from the cameras, according to a city memo.
Also during this week’s City Council meetings:
• Mutual aid provided between Eau Claire ambulances and neighboring EMS services will be expanded through agreements set to be signed Tuesday. The city is planning to renew mutual aid pacts with Chippewa Fire District and Mayo Clinic Ambulance, and sign inaugural ones with Chippewa Falls Fire and Emergency Services, Durand Municipal Ambulance Service and Menomonie Fire Department.
• The city will continue to use spring herbicide treatments to control invasive plants in Half Moon Lake with the help of grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The next three years of treatments are expected to cost a total of $277,680. The council will vote Tuesday on applying for a $150,000 state grant to cover part of those treatments with the city set to pick up the remaining $127,680.
• A program the council voted in fall 2018 to create as a way to give the public a greater voice in city budgeting is getting closer to its start. On Tuesday the council will vote on approving rules for how Eau Claire’s participatory budgeting program, which allows the public to vote on projects the city should fund, will be run.
• During Tuesday’s meeting, the council will decide on hiring an executive search firm and naming an ad hoc committee to lead recruitment of a new city manager. This is the second search Eau Claire is doing to replace Dale Peters, who retired in October, after the previous search ended with the council’s preferred choice taking a job elsewhere.