NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For some, having body cameras on Metro police is long overdue.
Mayor John Cooper said Monday that they are working on a plan to deploy the body cameras in 2020.
It’s been a discussion for three years with three mayors and advocates are glad to finally see the conversation move forward with a timeline
“It’s wonderful,” Theeda Murphy an organizer for the Justice for Jocques Coalition told News 2.
Just last week, members of the coalition gathered in front of the Mayor’s office to share their frustration over the delay in metro police body cameras.
“Last week, when we were in front of his office the information that we got was that it would be on hold indefinitely,” she explained.
Jocques Clemmons was shot following a traffic stop by officer Lippert in February of 2017. His death served as a pivotal incident for the creation of Nashville’s Community Oversight Board and heightened calls for police to wear body cameras.
“It has become a basic tool for accountability,” stated Murphy.
The Mayor says his timeline moves us from talking about body cameras for Metro police officers to deploying them, with a pilot program launching in May.
“I’m hoping this time we move out of the testing phaze,” said Murphy.
The cost has been the biggest hurdle in rolling out the body cams, according to Mayor Cooper. A report by the District Attorney’s office estimated it would cost about $36-million.
“I and people in the community question rather they will actually cost that much.”
While Murphy says they are glad to see a timeline, she is concerned about the policy.
She says the Oversight Board is the community voice in the process and they need to be leading the way at the table with police and the DA’s office.
“Whatever meetings are going on right now they need to be right in the middle of it, because they are our representatives and the process of putting the policies together need to be open, they need to be transparent, the public needs to be involved, we need to know what’s going on otherwise we would be wasting money on a camera system,” said Murphy.
The Mayor says they plan to first deploy around two dozen cameras to officers in its DUI and traffic enforcement units to test the new network in the Spring.
He says an additional 20 cameras will be deployed in May as a part of a pilot program that will last three to six months.