Body cameras for Metro police officers near critical vote

Body Camera
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Mayor Megan Barry has included $15 million in her budget proposal to purchase body cameras and in-car camera systems for Metro police officers.

Chief of Police Steve Anderson would like to provide each officer with two cameras and have enough video storage to save footage for three years.

Metro’s purchasing department will be issuing a request for information to vendors soon, according to the police department.

Community members have also called on the police department to add body cameras after recent officer-involved shootings, including the fatal shooting of Jocques Clemmons in February.

The Davidson County district attorney decided Metro Officer Joshua Lippert would not face charges in the shooting. After reviewing the case, DA Glenn Funk said Lippert killed Clemmons in self-defense.

At one time, Chief Anderson thought it would cost $50 million to properly outfit all of Metro’s officers with body cameras and to outfit patrol cars with in-camera systems, which would include integrated dash cam system, body worn cameras with upload storage, disaster recovery (back up servers), and wireless upload capability.

According to the chief’s budget proposal, the total cost for hardware, software, and infrastructure for the cameras would cost around $41.2 million. Then additional staff would be hired to run the program for a total of $8.9 million.

Mayor Barry’s press secretary said the process of buying body cameras and deploying them is a long one.

“It is a little bit of a process, but we also work to develop the policies that will be used by officers when they are operating the equipment,” said Sean Braistead, the mayor’s press secretary. “We also included members of the community to help develop those policies because we want to do it right not just quick.”

He continued, “I think we are on the path to do that but it is a lengthy process to make sure we are doing it right.”

Metro Council must approve the mayor’s budget by June 15, according to a Metro ordinance. The council has expressed support for body cameras.

In March, the council passed a resolution asking Metro police to purchase body cameras for officers and have flex unit officers wearing them by the end of June.

“Currently Metro Council is considering that proposal and we are working with MNPD in our procurement department to put out an RFP (request for proposal) so we can start the process to get final pricing and procure the equipment,” Braistead told News 2.