August 3, 2020

IMPD Officers Start To Get Cameras

The new body camera technology is demonstrated. (WFYI Jill Sheridan)

The new body camera technology is demonstrated. (WFYI Jill Sheridan)

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, IMPD, officers are being outfitted with new body cameras.  The camera program was expanded after recent protests and calls for police reform. 

All officers are scheduled to have operating cameras by October, and the East district will be the first to get them. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the technology is long overdue.

"Today is a win for better police, community relationship on both sides," Hogsett said. 

The move follows IMPD's roll out of new use of force policies last week. The cameras are meant to improve accountability. 

"Officers must have their cameras on for every citizen interaction," IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said. 

Exceptions will be made if a citizen requests otherwise, and officers must report if a camera fails to record an interaction.

The camera technology will automatically activate in a number of instances -- including if an officer draws a gun or is lying on the ground for more than 10 seconds. 

Releasable videos will be available to the public through records requests. Recordings can be withheld if the release could create a risk of harm or impair the ability for a fair trial.  

IMPD worked with community members to create camera policies. Far Eastside Community Council member Samantha Douglas says it's a step forward toward transparency. 

"More than anything," Douglas said, "I want the community to know that this happened because of their engagement." 

The Indianapolis City-County Council approved funding for the cameras last year.  IMPD recently signed the $9 million, five year contract.   

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