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Crowley City Council approves $80K in back payment for police body cams

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jul 08, 2020

The Crowley City Council voted on Wednesday to appropriate $80,000 to account for two years of non-payment for police body cameras to tech company Axon.

Two years ago, Chief Jimmy Broussard signed a contract with Axon accepting the cameras; however, those contracts can only be signed by the mayor, who is the city's chief executive officer.

Axon was threatening to take the cameras back as a result of non-payment.

Last week, Alderman and head of the Finance and Revenue Committee said Chief Broussard needs to be held accountable for breaking state laws. At that meeting, Cavell accused Broussard of several violations of the law, including the purchase of a new unit for the police department without authorization and the use of a police unit to transport a family to visit their loved one in a neighboring prison, also allegedly without authorization.

The motion to appropriate the funds made its way to the full council on Wednesday, where council members had yet another heated discussion about the issue.

READ MORE: Crowley Police Chief responds to councilman's accusations of breaking state law, other infractions

Councilman Jeff Cavell read a letter from the city's attorney, Thomas K. Regan, in which Regan stated that the contract signed by Chief Broussard was in fact illegal. Regan said he wasn't consulted about the negotiations, nor was his advice requested until after the bill for the cameras was presented. Regan added that Axon was willing to negotiate a payment for the cameras, but Regan recommended that the appropriation of funds would be an acceptable move.

Alderman Vernon "Step" Martin again defended Chief Broussard, who sat in the audience at Wednesday's meeting and did not address the council. Martin directed comments to Cavell and to Regan, saying that both should have noticed the mistake two years ago when the contract was first signed.

"Talk to people," Martin said. "Don't put the man out in the public."

Martin added that he believed the chief had good intentions and was sure that, when the chief signed the contract, he was looking out for the police department and the city.

"I applaud the chief for doing what he did. His intention, I'm pretty sure, was not to break the law."

Ultimately, the motion to appropriate the funds was approved unanimously, and the council approved 5-4 a motion to amend the budget to account for the payment to Axon.

KATC caught up with Chief Broussard after Wednesday's meeting, and he said he is thankful the payment was approved.

"A contract was signed by myself, which I didn't have the authority to do. The city attorney has been in discussions with the company. Tonight the council, thank God, approved to pay the amount due so that we are caught up on the body cameras."

Watch Wednesday's council meeting here.

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