Taser International, the company contracted to provide body cameras to the Memphis Police Department in a $4.5 million deal, has hired the public relations and marketing firm of a top campaign aide to Mayor A C Wharton, reports the Commercial Appeal.
The move has sparked criticism from two of Wharton’s rivals in the ongoing Memphis mayoral race.
The $880,147 contract, first reported by WHBQ Fox 13, was awarded to the Carter Malone Group, whose founder is Deidre Malone, the Wharton campaign manager and former Shelby County commissioner.
“TASER chose to contract with The Carter Malone Group, a M/WBE certified firm, based on their quality of work as they provided complementary services – namely, the provision of PSAs, public relations and related services,” Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taser International said in a statement provided to Fox 13.
In an interview Saturday, Malone said the contract is with Taser for public awareness on the new technology over the next five years. Malone said the contract includes media buys and billboards.
She said the city had already selected Taser when she met Taser officials at a meet and greet for women and minority-owned businesses. “Every certified vendor had an opportunity to participate,” Malone said.
Malone said Taser was “very impressed with what my firm offered and the services they needed for this project.”