Fraternal Order of Police pushes for body cams for IMPD officers

Local

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Could Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers soon be outfitted with body cameras?

The Fraternal Order of Police is hoping so.

During a news conference Wednesday, Indianapolis FOP President Rick Snyder urged the establishment of what he called a “truth in funding” commission. Snyder is confident that a body camera pilot program will be launched within the next year. 

The commission would determine how much it would cost for camera equipment, data storage, officer training and other items. The commission would also determine who pays for the program: whether through a bond issuance, capital improvement projects or other means. 

“Now we’ve got to have the tough discussion. How much are we willing to pay? The funding, it’s got to be in addition to what we’re already funding the police department at. It can’t be in lieu of these critical other things that we are doing,” Snyder said. 

The FOP estimates an upfront cost of around $15 million to $20 million for a technology package, which would include outfitting more than 1,000 officers with body cameras and the cost associated with starting a body camera program. It would also include public safety cameras, license plate reader cameras, and a gunshot detection system. It does not, however, include ongoing cost. 

In a statement, the city of Indianapolis said: 

“Chief Roach and Mayor Hogsett have long expressed interest in body cams for our officers, and have talked about our efforts to move toward the launch of a program for the last several years. Working toward deployment of a pilot program in 2019, we have continued to engage in discussions with both police agencies across the country and local stakeholders about what policies and procedures should be in place to ensure any future body cam program in Indianapolis is a benefit to the safety of both our officers and our city’s residents. Following the cutover to the new Computer-Aided Dispatch last fall, IMPD for the first time has the technology infrastructure in place to support such a program. Further, with unanimous support from the City-County Council, Mayor Hogsett’s 2019 budget includes roughly $2 million in public safety technology investments, including funding to add more surveillance cameras and replace broken ones around the city as well as access to a larger database for license plate readers. There were also discussions around the budget process about a potential pilot program for shots fired detection technology.

“Because technology changes so quickly, many cities are entering into agreements with providers that include leasing of the cameras, storage, maintenance, etc. This annual cost allows for cities to take advantage of new hardware as it becomes available instead of owning what could one day be obsolete devices. Our latest estimate places the cost of this type of agreement for IMPD at around $2 million per year.”

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