You don’t have to be a fan of NASCAR to know that NASCAR is synonymous with deep patriotism and love and support for our military and emergency responder communities.
So, it should come as no surprise that one of the cars is doing what it can to help support a small police department in Michigan.
Napoleon Township, located about 80 miles West of Detroit, has a population of 6,962. They are policed by a department comprised of 10 officers (3 full-time, 7 part-time and 6 reserve officers). They have also typically operated from the general township budget, which can cause budgetary constraints where technology upgrades are concerned.
The annual budget is $292,000, which makes it difficult to afford the replacements for the nine-year-old in-car systems and the broken body cam units. The chief told Law Enforcement Today that they typically only have a few officers on duty at any given time, so they would like to have 3 body cameras, 2 for the officers on duty and one back-up unit.
Police Chief Duaine Pittman mentioned that there have been numerous cases where an arrest was made, but video footage was not captured or didn’t download completely. “To go to court on cases like that today…the prosecutor’s office, the defense, the jury, they like to see that footage.”
During a trip to the Daytona 500, Chief Pittman was connected to Superior-Essex, one of the leading structured cabling manufacturers in the US. Superior-Essex is a sponsor for the Starcom Racing Chevrolet 00 driven by Landon Cassill. During the 500, the driver, the team and Superior-Essex began discussing the cost of body cameras. And that is when they began to formulate the idea. “They just said, this is something we want to be involved in. I didn’t ask them for anything, they are just really great people,” Chief Pittman said.
Chief Pittman also mentioned that they have applied for grants to help with these purchases only to find that the department did not qualify for most grant funding.
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The group set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to offset the costs of the equipment the department needs. The car will display the GoFund me link on the back of the car during the races at the Michigan International Speedway. To date, the page has raised $3,512 of its $15,000 goal, which would pay for three body cameras, 2 in-car systems and a cloud-based uploading solution. (Note: If the fundraising effort exceeds the goal, that will allow the NPD the ability to facilitate additional equipment purchases that will aid them in crime detection, prevention and life-saving capabilities.
The driver, Landon Cassill says he is more than happy to support this effort. “It’s really cool, it means a lot. I mean just know how small the department is and they have a limited budget you know but they still have a job to do, they still have to keep their local community safe, no matter how big or small,” he said.
Chief Pittman said that he will be presented with a check from the proceeds of the GoFundMe effort at the race at MIS on June 9.
The chief also stated that he will make himself available for a follow-up discussion with LET once the gear has been purchased and is in use.
Readers interested in participating in the fundraiser can do so by clicking the link below.