a person holding a sign: Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] - registerguard.com


© Dana Sparks
Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] – registerguard.com

The Springfield City Council on Monday evening decided it will not consider cutting an expensive police body camera program to save money through the pandemic.

Anticipated declines in property tax collections and other fiscal shortfalls led the council to ask staff in April to come back with options for adjusting the budget. Between then and Monday, the nation erupted into protests demanding an end to racism in police departments and greater accountability for officers on the job.

The city’s budget staff then asked departments to suggest ways to shrink their budgets and included those options on a report brought to the council Monday.

Eliminating the body camera program was one of many cost savings presented in the report, though its single largest item. But the cut proposal was ill timed with ongoing protests, and dozen of locals appeared outside City Hall demanding the program be instated. Council members agreed the program shouldn’t be delayed.

“We are responsible to the citizens,” Ward 2 councilor Steve Moe said. “Everything I get from the public is they want those body cameras, so I will support that.”

Springfield has been flirting with a body camera program since 2015, but delayed it because of a price tag of more than $350,000 in its first year. None of the council members Monday spoke in favor of delaying the program as a next-year cost saving.

“I am in full support of moving forward on cameras,” Ward 5 councilor Marilee Woodrow said. “It’s time to get there, dive in and get it done.”

The options for cuts to the city budget, including not implementing the body camera program next year, would have eliminated nearly $841,500 in costs to the city for the coming fiscal year. Many of the options for department cuts included eliminating city positions or reducing services, such as at the Springfield Public Library.

Eliminating the body camera program would have saved about $350,000 next year.

Other suggested police reductions include permanently reducing the number of community service officers in Springfield by two, a savings of $104,647; eliminating a records specialist position, a savings of $93,400; and leaving vacant two police officer positions, a savings of $279,655. The total police reductions are $827,702.

The suggested elimination of the body cam program brought the police department beyond its target goal of $477,702. The other cuts suggested by the police department reached that goal on their own.

Springfield Finance Director Nathan Bell told the council that revised expectations for the coming fiscal year show a $1 million to $1.8 million impact to city revenue. That includes a possible 1% to 2% increase in property tax delinquencies, a decrease in interest from investments and an expected decline in hotel room taxes because of the pandemic.

“What separates the best case from the worst case: I think just how accurate forecasting is. So we kind of want to put some side walls on what we’re dealing with,” Bell said. “The worst case is if the Ducks play to empty stadiums next year.”

Despite this, Mayor Christine Lundberg said the cost for cameras is worth it.

“This will be a trade off, but this is important enough,” Lundberg said.

Police Chief Richard Lewis said once the funding for the body camera programs becomes available, he believes officers could be wearing them by early next year.

“If things go well and the IT solution works fine, I feel pretty confident by February we can be issuing the hardware to officers,” Lewis told the council.

Bell told the council that it was the budget staff’s decision to put the body camera program up for consideration. He said Lewis submitted the other police department options, but budget staff had heard council members say in past meetings that if push came to shove they would rather keep officers over getting the body cameras.



a person holding a sign: Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] - registerguard.com


© Dana Sparks
Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] – registerguard.com

The City Council will vote on the budget next week.

Here are the full department cut options presented Monday:

City Manager’s Office (target $46,586)

– Shift personnel costs to Springfield Economic Development Agency Glenwood and Springfield Economic Development Agency Downtown Funds: $46,585

Development and Public Works (target $33,206)

– Leave building maintenance worker position open. Vacancy results in $55,000 savings. Proposed use of remaining savings to support contractual services: $55,000

Finance (target $73,056)

– Eliminate AP Tech position; bring Administrative Assistant from 0.7 FTE to 1.0 FTE: $69,000

– Restructure city’s procurement program. Reclassify Procurement Manager to a Management Analyst. No first-year savings, with a savings of $30,400 in subsequent years: $30,400

Fire Department (target $366,543)

– Unfund, but don’t eliminate, the full-time equivalent position for Fire Instructor: $128,000

– Eliminate the Ambulance Billing Supervisor and shift an equal portion of dispatch fees to Ambulance Fund: $121,000

Information Technology (target $60,093)

– Eliminate Information Security Management Analyst: $110,712

– Upgrade programmer analyst to manager: $44,205

– Add back-up software materials and services: $45,000

Library (target $51,675)

– Reduce materials and services for library collections: $20,000

Police (target $477,702)

– Community Service Officer 2 Position — permanent reduction: $104,647

– Records Specialist Position — permanent reduction: $93,400

– Vacancy management — sworn police officers (approximately two FTE positions): $279,655

– Body Worn Cameras Program: $350,000

TOTAL $841,492

Contact reporter Adam Duvernay at aduvernay@registerguard.com or 541-338-2237, and follow him on Twitter @DuvernayOR. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.



a group of people walking down the street: Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] - registerguard.com


© Dana Sparks
Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] – registerguard.com



a person standing in front of a building: Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] - registerguard.com


© Dana Sparks
Protesters gathered outside of Springfield City Hall during a work session that was scheduled to discuss funding around body cameras for police. Speakers primarily discussed police brutality across the black and Latino communities in Springfield and Eugene. [Dana Sparks/The Register-Guard] – registerguard.com

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