NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper has announced a plan to deploy body-worn cameras for Metro police officers.
Tuesday's announcement comes after the police department said the plan was put on hold due to the city’s budget issues. District Attorney Glenn Funk released a report last week and estimated the cameras would cost the city $36 million per year.
The mayor’s office said there are several other factors that have slowed the process. For one, Metro agencies have not finalized how the video would be shared with the DA’s office, attorneys, the courts and the public. They have also yet to build an infrastructure to support wireless video uploads at the city’s eight police precincts.
Later this week, Cooper says he will meet with the Criminal Justice Advisory Board to begin the process of working through those issues.
“Nashville’s residents and police officers have been anxiously waiting for body-worn cameras since the initial announcement three years ago,” said Mayor John Cooper. “I understand and share the community’s frustration over the wait. Basic questions about how video will be used and shared hadn’t been addressed. In my first two and a half months in office, I’ve made sure that we continue to move forward with body-worn cameras as quickly and responsibly as possible. Thanks to the hard work of personnel across Metro, we now have a roadmap for implementing cameras. I’m excited that we can now move from talking about cameras to deploying them.”
They hope to have cameras rolled out at the Metro Southeast facility in March. After that’s done, the department will deploy “approximately two dozen” cameras to officers in its DUI and Traffic Enforcement Units.
The department expects all eight precincts to have body cameras by May. Then they’ll deploy an additional 20 cameras in “beta” for three months to “determine all-in costs and fine-tune operational procedures.”
This pilot will last for 3-6 months. Then the mayor’s office will evaluate the results with technical advisors, which will help determine the costs of a wider deployment moving forward.
“It’s important that we get this done, and it’s important that we get it right,” says Mayor Cooper. “This plan puts cameras in the field as soon as the infrastructure is there to support them and allows us to learn what works in the process.”