Clarksville Hosts Public Hearing To Discuss Body Cams

CLARKSVILLE,T enn. - Clarksville held its first public hearing for community members to discuss and ask questions about the recently approved plan to outfit the city's officers with body cameras.

The city of Clarksville has voted to match the $337,500 grant given by the U.S. Department of Justice, the city is moving forward with its plans to outfit every police officer with a body camera. 

However,  before that happens Clarksville wants the public's input. One of the biggest concerns in a recent survey surrounds privacy issues. 

“We’re not recording people in their private lives. We are recording any interaction between an officer and citizens that are involved in a law enforcement capacity,” Clarksville Police Chief Alonzo Ansley said. 

Ansely said his department is used to working with in-car cameras and believes body cameras will only help his officers when complaints are filed against them. 

“The majority, or 98 percent of the time when somebody makes a complaint and we have it on in-car, proves the officer right, proves the officer was professional, proves the officers conducted themselves the way they are supposed to,” explained Ansely. 

In fact he said nearly 90 percent of his officers are in favor of using body cams. “It tells me what I already know, that we’ve got a professional department,” Ansley said. 

The ACLU of Tennessee is also getting involved in drafting the policies and procedures that will come with the new equipment. 

“We see police body cameras as an important tool, just a tool. It is certainly not a panacea but it is an important tool in terms of increasing accountability and transparency and building, restoring, creating community trust,” ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said. 

Tuesday's public hearing was the first of several. Stay with News Channel 5 as this story is updated.  

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