Heeding Protesters, Nashville May Accelerate Purchase Of Police Body Cameras | Nashville Public Radio

Heeding Protesters, Nashville May Accelerate Purchase Of Police Body Cameras

Mar 7, 2017

Nashville’s council members are again taking a close look at Metro Police this week. This time, the council is considering whether to move faster on securing body cameras for officers.

A proposal championed by the Minority Caucus suggests using about $250,000 to immediately buy 168 cameras. These would be shared among certain patrols until the department can be fully equipped.

If it passes Tuesday, this would ramp up the urgency around cameras.

Previously, Mayor Megan Barry pledged funding through the annual budget process. And before the cameras could be used, a task force is still considering the rules to govern them — like when officers would turn the cameras on, and how the public would access the footage.

Councilwoman Karen Johnson said all of that can and should still happen. But she said her resolution follows citizen demands. A group disrupted the most recent council meeting to make the point.

“They want action,” Johnson said. “Body cameras have been talked about, about being in the budget since, what, October of 2016?”

The councilwoman noted that the fatal shooting of Jocques Clemmons by an East Nashville officer last month escalates the need.

“The reality is, there is someone who has died and it has prompted a lot of outcry and it has prompted a call to action to the city council,” Johnson said.

The proposal, which has seven co-sponsors, would also issue a mandate for transparency and accountability in the camera policy. It suggests making camera footage public and establishing a disciplinary measure for officers who don’t active cameras, and attention to protecting the privacy of innocent bystanders who are caught on film.