Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Police Buy 150 Body Cameras ; Will Deploy after Training

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Police Buy 150 Body Cameras ; Will Deploy after Training

Article excerpt

Evansville motor patrol police officers are a step closer to having body-worn cameras - technology that can capture audio and video of police and public interactions - after the Board of Public Safety awarded a vendor $137,000 to purchase them Wednesday. The Evansville Police Department, represented by Captain Andy Chandler and Information Technology Sgt. Vernon Lutz, chose Kansas-based Digital Ally to purchase 150 FirstVu-HD cameras.

The money to pay for the cameras will partly come from drug forfeiture money, but mostly from other police budget line items that had money to spare, said Lora Bennett, police department finance officer.

Chandler said there are still some bureaucratic steps, and officers will need training on the new technology before the cameras hit the streets.

"It's not going to be a real fast turnaround. This will still take several weeks to incorporate, but we feel very strongly about the need to have officers with body cams," Chandler said.

One yearlong study showed a significant drop in citizen complaints and the use of force by officers when they wore body cameras.

"It's going to be a great tool for law enforcement," Chandler said.

Of the three bids, Digital Ally had the highest bid at $137,849, however, the company was selected for its features and functionality, Lutz said.

Other bidding vendors included Vievu, $125,900, and Taser Inc., $136,859.

Body worn cameras became part public focus in August when an officer captured the later part of a traffic stop with Evansville firefighter George Madison, Jr. on a body-worn camera the department was testing.

Citing what they felt was a pattern of disrespect from local law enforcement, the Concerned Clergy of Evansville, represented by Revs. Rabon Turner and Adrian Brooks, asked all Evansville police officers be equipped with the cameras.

In August, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office equipped 100 deputies with body-worn cameras, though, the purchase and implementation was set in motion before the widely publicized traffic stop involving Madison and the Evansville Police Department. …

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