IMPD ends body-camera pilot, hopes to land permanent funding

A pilot program that equipped law enforcement officials with body cameras is coming to an end after seven months because department leaders are uncertain whether they can afford to continue it.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs want the cameras, but it would cost about $2 million to give one to every officer, according to department spokesman Sgt. Kendale Adams.

The police department and the Department of Public Safety will ask for funding to purchase the cameras next year, he said. On July 9, Hite showed his support for the cameras, saying the body cameras have been helpful both in the field and during training exercises, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Specifically, the cameras helped capture “raw and untouched” footage of an April 12 fatal officer-involved shooting, Hite said. After reviewing the video, a grand jury determined last month that the officers wouldn’t face any charges.

The pilot program is set to end July 13, and then all of the devices will be returned to the three lending vendors. Officials will continue to review the video that’s been captured, collect feedback from officers who used the cameras and determine a vendor.

Before the program began, officials said it would be a long time before every officer is equipped with the cameras. Providing the devices for all of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s 1,500 or so officers would be costly.

The cameras cost $800 to $1,200 apiece, plus the cost of storing the video and maintenance for the devices, according to Brian Reeder, who was a member of a city efficiency team that researched the cameras.

Department leaders are still trying to determine how many cameras they would need to purchase and how much funding they would need to request.

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