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IMPD to test body cameras, survey community about them

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is planning to launch its second pilot program for body cameras as soon as next month.

But first, the city will line up camera vendors so the program can test their products.

On Monday, IMPD published a request to find at least three vendors.

IMPD has tested body cameras previously, but the department is hoping the second time is a charm. 

“In 2014, it was a very small pilot project and, to be quite frank with you, we looked at it as if we were buying a car or just another tool for the police department,” Police Chief Bryan Roach said. 

The department now wants to outfit officers from the busiest districts, North, East and Southeast, during their busiest shifts. Each district would test a different vendor’s product over 60 days.

“We think that that’ll give us a large opportunity to see what kind of storage costs they will entail, how many runs it’s actually used on, how much storage space we’ll need,” Roach said.

During a Monday news conference at Edna Martin Christian Center, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the new program would also look for community and officer input. “Both officers and community will be surveyed. There combined reaction will help inform the development of any policy that goes forward.” 

City officials said if the testing period goes as planned, officers could be outfitted with body cameras by the end of 2019 or in early 2020. The cameras and video storage could cost the city from $2 million to $3 million each year, according to the mayor.

“I am eager for our city, the city we call home, Indianapolis, to finally join this next evolution in policing,” Hogsett said at the news conference. 

Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis will administer a community survey. It will gauge how people feel about the program, and each IMPD district will host “listening sessions.”

Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, said he supports body cameras. However, Snyder said, he is concerned about the city’s approach. (Hear Snyder’s comments in the video below. App users go online to watch it.)

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