Green Bay, WI – The Green Bay Packers announced that they are giving more than $750,000 toward the purchase of bodycams for the Green Bay Police Department (GBPD).
Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy said the controversial shooting nearby presented an opportunity for players and team executives to take action beyond making public statements of condemnation.
“What are the areas where you can make an impact?” Murphy told The Washington Post that they asked themselves. “The nice thing about the bodycams is, there’s pretty much a consensus these are good things to have. The only people against it are bad cops and criminals.”
“These have been issues for years,” he said. “Obviously, it came to a head a couple years ago with Colin Kaepernick and the protest.”
“We’ve always been very supportive of our players,” he continued. “At least in my mind, for us, the Jacob Blake shooting happened right in our backyard. To me, it was kind of an inflection point.”
“We can’t just raise these issues. We can’t just make people aware of them. We need to move beyond that,” Murphy told The Washington Post. “We’re in a very privileged position as an organization where we can help impact change. We have a responsibility to do that.”
Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith said in a video statement that the city had wanted to buy bodycams for its police officers for years but that the equipment had been prohibitively expensive.
The total cost for bodycams for GBPD is $3.6 million, The Washington Post reported.
The Packers contributed $757,000 to the fund and the city of Green Bay will pony up $1.95 million.
Discounts and a promotional deal with bodycam-maker Axon, made possible by the Green Bay Packers involvement, filled the gap so the bodycams could be purchased, The Washington Post reported.
The Packers’ total contribution was valued at more than $926,000, according to WFVR.
Players were excited to be able to do more than just talk, The Washington Post reported.
“Those body cams can tell the entire story,” Packers wide receiver Davante Adams said in a team-produced video. “There’s been a lot of questionable things that have happened, a lot of things caught on camera. It just makes you wonder about things that aren’t caught on camera. We just wanted to make sure we did something like that, something that was measurable.”
Adams said players met and discussed how to help in a way that would make a difference after the Blake shooting in August, The Washington Post reported.
“We took immediate action as a leadership council, as a team, just trying to figure out what’s the most impactful way to make a difference,” Adams said. “Obviously tweeting and all those type of things are a bunch of different acts you can do to bring light to this topic. But it was something we wanted to make sure we did the right way, and we found something that was really impactful.”
The police department was happy to accept the gift and the Green Bay Common Council voted unanimously to approve the plan, WFVR reported.
“I am confident that Axon’s technology will help our department better serve Green Bay, not only by helping increase our efficiency and performance, but also by letting community members know they are protected with livestream body cameras that alert our agency of escalated incidents,” Chief Smith said. “We serve to build trust, safety and a higher quality of life for everyone here in Green Bay and we’re thankful for the Packers’ contribution.”