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Mayor, police chief to initiate study for body-worn cameras

INDIANAPOLIS – The mayor and police chief are poised to announce a feasibility study for a body-worn camera program.

Mayor Joe Hogsett and Chief Bryan Roach announced Sunday night in a news release that they would launch the process during a news conference Monday afternoon at Edna Martin Christian Center, 2605 E. 25th St.

“The process is designed to be community- and stakeholder-driven, seeking feedback from neighborhoods as well as rank-and-file officers,” the release said. Large police departments across the country have reported benefits from body-worn camera programs that include increased transparency with the community, a reduction in complaints against police, and improved officer training. The captured audio and video can assist in the prosecution of offenders as well as the investigation of citizen complaints. In December 2018, Chief Roach selected IMPD’s first body camera program manager who has been tasked with overseeing the study period.”

The announcement comes days after the Fraternal Order of Police had a news conference calling for a “truth in funding” commission for body cameras. Indianapolis FOP President Rick Snyder said at a news conference Jan. 23 that he is confident that a body camera pilot program will be launched within the next year. 

After the FOP news conference, the city had issued a statement noting that Hogsett’s 2019 budget includes roughly $2 million in public safety technology investments. That would include additional surveillance cameras, replacement of some current ones, a larger database for license plate readers, and a potential pilot program for shots-fired detection technology.

Some nearby communities already use body cameras, and the Carmel and Fishers departments plan to equip their officers with body cameras this year.