Officers from another Middle Tennessee police department are now hitting the streets armed with body cameras.
Lebanon police tested their new cameras for the first time Monday. The department has 100 cameras. It took about two years to get them up and running.
“It’s like anything else,” said Sgt. P.J. Hardy, with the Lebanon Police Department. “When you start something new, there is a bit of a learning curve.”
The Lebanon City Council signed off on the cost of the cameras and server which totaled just over $64,000.
Officers will clip on the cameras at the start of their shift. The cameras will record any interaction they have with the public throughout the day. At the end of the day, the video is uploaded to a server which is managed by the police department. The video will be stored for about a year. In the case of a large event with a lot of video, a third party service would be used to help redact sensitive information like drivers license numbers from the footage.
“We will only look at the footage when we have an incident we need to take a further look at,” said Sgt. Hardy. “We will also look at it if it is being requested by the public.”
Officers did extensive training before using the cameras. Sgt. Hardy said the feedback from officers has been positive.
“It’s just a great tool to protect our citizens, our officers, and our city,” said Sgt. Hardy.
Due to growth in the city of Lebanon, the police department has added several officers recently. Sgt. Hardy said if the department continues to grow, more body cameras may be added, as well.
The Mt. Juliet Police Department also announced Monday body cameras could be ready for officers to use in about two weeks. The department recently finalized a contract to replace all patrol unit mounted cameras, equip officers with cameras, and set up a digital evidence management system.
Four officers will initially be equipped with the new system. By March of 2019, all officers and patrol units will be equipped with the cameras. The five-year contract for the system cost $540,600.