HERMISTON — The Hermiston Police Department has purchased 17 new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) with the help of a $10,000 grant from the Wildhorse Foundation.

“We hear how busy the fire department is,” said Chief Jason Edmiston. “If there ever is an opportunity where we can assist the fire department, I think there’s an expectation from the public that if they are late with another emergency, we step in.”

In 2015, the department purchased seven AEDs, which can be used to reestablish a heart’s rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest. Edmiston said that since then, he can recall at least one instance where an officer used an AED.

The new AEDs will be installed into the new take-home vehicles the department said they’d be leasing and modifying this fall. Edmiston said there have been some delays on the part of the company that will be outfitting the vehicles with the necessary equipment.

“We’ll be lucky if we have them out by February,” Edmiston said.

Edmiston also said that the department is signing a new five-year contract with Axon Enterprise for body cameras and data storage. The department previously had a contract with the same company for $72,000 but renegotiated the terms to make changes related to licensure with a new $63,000 contract.

“All of our officers are going to be equipped with brand new cameras, latest versions they’re pushing out,” Edmiston said. “It holds us accountable, and it holds people accountable.”

He said it costs about $14,500 each year to keep officers outfitted with body cameras.

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