Council approves body cam purchase

FORT LARAMIE – The Fort Laramie Town Council discussed purchasing body cameras for the police department during its monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Mayor Joyce Evans said the cameras requested by the police department were to be paid on a yearly basis, but the price was going to increase by at least double at the beginning of the year. Evans said she and Clerk/Treasurer Kim Craft were unaware of the increase.

To avoid paying extra, the police department locked in the original price since they knew the council had approved the concept of looking into applying for a grant to pay for the body cams, and also had enough money through COVID and court funds to pay the first year.

Councilwoman Kelly Loveland said she would have preferred a meeting to discuss the issue before locking in the price.

“I understand it, but I don’t understand in making the decision without being brought forward,” Loveland said.

Evans clarified no money had been spent yet and she wanted to get the council’s approval before doing so.

Evans also said the plan by the company is to do a five-year payment plan and the town will own the equipment at the end of the payment, but they will be able to make a full payment if the grant is approved.

The cameras are replaced once at two and a half years and again at five years. The average life expectancy, however, is between seven to 10 years.

Evans told the council they can choose to back out of the locked in price if they do not receive the grant.

The council approved the initial purchase of the body cams along with a resolution for State of Lands and Investments Board (SLIB) funding for a rescue rig and a resolution for SLIB funding for fire department equipment.

Public Works Supervisor Jared Loveland updated the council on some of the projects around the town including the playground equipment being fully installed and the basketball courts finished with the exception of the hoops. Loveland said they need to wait for the ground to thaw before putting the hoops back in.

Loveland also said there is some water damage between the two fire buildings.

“It’s actually in between the buildings where they connected them,” Loveland said. “The water comes off of both roofs down onto that section of crawl-through.”

Loveland added there is no major damage yet, but it could cause structural problems in the future.

In other discussion items, Fire Chief Pete Howes said there were two fire calls for six man hours, two EMS calls for 11 man hours, and two meetings for 21 hours.

Kelly Loveland added the ambulance has been out of service since she has been the only EMT certified person on staff. Despite adding a second EMT certified person, they will still have to keep the ambulance closed since it requires a medic plus one and both EMTs have jobs and children.  

Loveland also said they are responding to as many calls as possible and thanked the Lingle EMS department for their help as well.  

Evans also talked about the hiring of a temporary Deputy Clerk/Treasurer while the current one is on maternity leave. The new employee is expected to start training in February.

Evans also said Wyoming Municipal Power Agency (WMPA) is holding a public budget hearing on Jan. 29, and all are welcome.

The next council meeting is Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.


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