Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert wants Sheriff's deputies to have body cameras, but he doesn't want to play the games that frequently come with the contract bidding process, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Calvert says one of the big body camera companies has a history of placing elected officials and government staffers on phony-baloney 'advisory boards' and names them 'consultants,' which he says is simply bribing elected officials.
“The appearance of buying the favor of our elected officials and staff is bad for the public trust and so I will introduce language into the body camera contract that goes before Commissioners Court on Tuesday, March 13, 2018," Calvert said. "I can’t understand why our Sheriff’s Department is using false information and how staff can justify an order that is $4 million dollars higher in price.”
Calvert released news clippings indicating that officials in other communities which agreed to buy body cams from the company were flown to a party at a San Diego nightclub that was billed as 'consulting,' and one official who had discussed flying to cities like Amsterdam to 'speak about technology' on the company's dime.
One official said the process of buying the body cams was 'greased.'
Calvert says he won't vote for a body camera contract which is Commissioners Court agenda for next week unless the following language is added:
“No Bexar County elected official, staff member, consultant, lobbyist, contractor, family member, or individual used to launder pecuniary gifts of the aforementioned list of individuals may engage in free trips, free conventions, free seminars, advisory or board meetings, paid consulting, gifts, or in-kind gifts of any kind in violation with the spirit of this contract clause or the contract for body cameras with Bexar County will be forfeited, disqualified from re-bidding, and re-bid. This includes any past or current pecuniary gifts given that violate the aforementioned spirit of this clause. In addition, no county official or consultant related to the body camera process or family member of the aforementioned list can be hired within five years of leaving the county by a vendor or its affiliate businesses or non-profit arms.”
There are no allegations that any Bexar County officials have done anything wrong in connection with the county's purchase of body cameras for the Sheriff's Department.