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Nashville Police Chief Talks Body Camera Budget With Metro Council

FOP: Bodycam would've help exonerate Ofc. Lippert
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Posted at 5:37 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 18:44:22-04

The Metro City Budget Committee met with Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson to discuss what a possible body camera program in Nashville.

According to the mayor's office, the chief asked for two body cameras per officer as well as four cameras per vehicle. 

During Thursday's meeting, Chief Anderson also addressed a need for nine new positions at MNPD for IT support and public information.

The current budget is $15 million to get it all started.

"Doing these cameras is kind of like opening up a video production company," said chief Anderson. "At present we would have to do it in staff, and we operate on a skeleton crew as it is."

Anderson said he needs the staff to operate servers and collect video as well as process it. He also said the exact camera model hasn't been selected. 

"We have a program to evaluate the cameras to decide which camera companies we actually want to bring in," Anderson said.

According to Nashville's Fraternal Order of Police president Sgt. James Smallwood, body cameras would've helped exonerate Officer Josh Lippert more quickly.

"It depends on the angle of the video, what obstructions are there, what can be seen and what can't," Smallwood said. "If there are any obstructions or anything. Had the video been clear, I have no doubt it would've exonerated based on that video."

Smallwood said he doesn't think Nashville police need the cameras, but isn't opposed to the transparency.

"We're not going to fight it. We're not against it. We're just showing the community that we're doing everything right and we're following our policies and procedures," He said.