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City investigator finds no fault in new deal with Taser

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque officials used a “fair and unbiased process” to reach a tentative deal last year with Taser International to provide on-body cameras for police officers, the city’s Office of Inspector General found in a new report.

The multimillion deal announced by city officials in December is unrelated to a $2 million no-bid contract with Taser in 2013 that led to a criminal investigation because former Chief of Police Ray Schultz began consulting work for Taser while he remained on the city’s payroll.

Under the new contract, Taser would provide 2,000 cameras and cloud storage under a deal that would have an estimated cost of $5.17 million through 2020, according to the report. The deal would be funded with a combination of city general funds and federal grants.

City Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry asked the city’s Office of Inspector General in December to review the contract process in light of the controversial history of the city’s business dealings with Taser, the report said.

Taser was among nine vendors that responded to a request for proposals issued last year by the city. The city’s investigator interviewed 40 people involved in the process in January.

The report concluded that “the process was executed with a priority of fairness, objectivity, and a desire to ensure an unbiased selection of a vendor,” and compliance with city purchasing rules, the report said.

The report faulted city officials for asking Taser for a cost estimate in January 2016 while preparing the city’s 2017 budget. City officials should have requested the information from several vendors “to avoid perceptions of favoritism,” especially given the city’s history with Taser, the report said.

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