Novi police to receive new in-car and body cameras

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published February 23, 2023

File photo by Brian Wells


NOVI — Novi police officers will soon be equipped with body cameras, as well as dash cams and recorders.

The City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the body cameras, as well as new dash cams, during its regular meeting Feb. 6.

“We have been tossing around for quite some time the addition of body cameras, which is the next evolution of safety for our officers,” said interim City Manager Victor Cardenas. “We have cameras and recorders on our officers now when they are near their vehicles. This just adds another layer of surveillance and protection when they are on foot or leaving their vehicles.”

The city of Novi and the Novi Police Department have had dash cams in their vehicles for more than 20 years, according to Cardenas. However, the cameras are now out of warranty and unserviceable, which has caused the need for them to be replaced.

Police Chief Erick Zinser echoed Cardenas’ sentiments, saying that the cameras the department has now are at their end of life, and servicing them is getting more and more difficult.

“Body cameras are really about transparency. It’s about accountability. It’s about building public trust. It’s about protecting our agency. It’s about protecting the city of Novi,” Zinser told the council. “The technology is out there.”

Zinser said that the audio in the cars works well, but when they get farther and farther away from their vehicles, the audio is often garbled. He said that to provide better transparency, the Novi Police Department wants to be able to capture what is going on away from the vehicle and can do so with the body cameras.

The council unanimously moved to approve the contract with Axon Enterprise Inc. for $963,095 with final language and execution to be completed by the city manager and city attorney, and to amend the budget to make the purchase this year.

The city was planning to allocate funds for the purchase in the 2023-24 budget, but, with consideration of the six months to a year lead time on receiving the purchase, opted to amend this year’s budget.

The cost is $397,122.70 for the dash cam system  and  $565,973 for the body cameras.  The quote is for 26 vehicles and two motorcycles, which includes 24 police patrol cars and two fire command vehicles. The quote includes 75 wireless body cameras that integrate with the in-car system, as well as all related supporting equipment and cloud storage, and five-year warranties on all equipment.