By Aaron Moody
April 28, 2017
A trial run at body-worn police cameras could begin within months.
Police Chief Brandon Zuidema told the Town Council on Tuesday that with its approval, the trial period could begin in July or August. What remains: finishing touches to a policy for using the devices and final input from public partners.
If all goes as planned, a final review of the equipment and policy will take place in November, and a full roll-out of the program will occur in January 2018.
Tuesday’s discussion came about a year after Zuidema and the council first discussed body-worn cameras. He gave a general framework for what the department’s camera policy could look like and how Garner might pay for the cameras.
“We’ve done, I think, a considerable amount of work and research and put some effort into preparing for a body-worn camera program,” Zuidema said.
The department does not use the cameras but did test them a couple of years ago.
Last fall, the Governor’s Crime Commission provided $24,500 for the purchase of about a dozen body-worn cameras.
The department expects to learn this summer if it will receive a two-year, $83,320 matching grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to purchase more cameras. The plan is for all 65 sworn officers to eventually have a camera, although not all of them would necessarily use them daily.
Zuidema said the WatchGuard brand is the best option for Garner police, primarily because the department already uses the company’s in-car camera system.
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