Nashville police are beginning field tests with body-worn cameras. It's a significant step in the city's push for more police transparency and better community relations.
The 20 officers who volunteered for the trial will record their daily police activity, including traffic stops, arrests, searches and interviews with witnesses and suspects. Police say the officers will deactivate the cameras if privacy is needed. The department says they're testing out four different manufacturers and the feedback will be used when determining what equipment to ultimately purchase.
“Stage one of field testing that has begun today is part of the process to help ensure this police department makes the right decisions that are in the best interest of Nashville,” said Police Chief Steve Anderson.
There's been a call to equip Nashville police with body cameras in the wake of a fatal police shooting last February. But the implementation is tricky and expensive. Questions swirled around how the footage should be stored, and for how long? When do officers turn on the cameras? And what type of privacy is expected by those on both sides of the camera. In July, the Metro Council approved $15 million for the program, which ultimately is likely to cost $23 million.
During the test period officers will download the footage at the end of their shift. Eventually, the department says, it will have wireless hotspots for high speed downloading on the go.