Body Cameras Coming Soon to Chattanooga Police Department
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Chattanooga city leaders have set aside nearly 2-million dollars in budgets to help the police department purchase body cameras.
The 5-year contract includes about 300-thousand dollars in grant money from the Department of Justice.
Today, was an important step for the Chattanooga Police Department.
City Council members approved a budget allowing the department to help strengthen the bond between police officers and community members.
The Public Safety Committee met today to discuss body cameras for the Chattanooga Police Department, a process that has taken two years.
Chief Fred Fletcher along with a host of other advocates got approval for the funding necessary to go into a contract with the vendor Taser International.
This is a company that specializes in electrical weapons, body worn cameras, and digital evidence management solutions.
Councilman Moses Freeman, District 8 stated,” We have in our two previous budgets set aside the money to pay for the cameras, but we also got a grant from the department of justice to pay for most important part of the process which was data storage and developing a policy for the use of the cameras.”
With the budget in approval there still remain two important questions, how can the city handle the potentially huge amounts of storage and will there be any privacy violations as well.
Chief Fred Fletcher of the Chattanooga Police Department stated ” It is not a problem with the vendor’s solution that we’ve selected, um it is a challenge because a body worn camera on a 10 hour shift can theoretically gather up to 10 hours worth of data and data particular in the high definition format that this particular vendor provides is storage intensive, so we sought a solution that provided an efficient use of tax payers dollars to provide storage of all that data.”
Councilman Moses Freeman says, “We’ve incorporated everything we need to about privacy into the policy of the camera… as an example victims. We’ll definately have police officers turn off the cameras when their talking to victims or witnesses will have them turn off when they are talking to witnesses or anybody who is not apart of the criminal aspect of an incident.”
Chief Fletcher also says, he hopes to have a body camera worn on every member of his department by the end of March.