THE ISSUE: Some police departments shelve body cameras, cite data costs


Some police departments shelve body cameras, cite data costs

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Police departments that outfitted their officers with body cameras have now shelved them, blaming new laws requiring videos to be stored longer, which they say would significantly increase the cost.

About a third of the nation's 18,000 police agencies are either testing body cameras or have embraced them to record their officers' interactions with the public. But departments in Indiana suspended their programs this year after the state imposed longer video-storage rules.

Clarksville, a southern Indiana town, began using body cameras in 2012 for its 50 full-time officers and 25 reservists. That program ended in June when Chief Mark Palmer pulled the cameras in response to Indiana's new law requiring agencies using the cameras to store the videos for at least 190 days.

The new law that took effect July 1 would have raised costs to $50,000 to $100,000 for the first year, he said.

Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the national American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, acknowledged that costs of operating body camera programs can be daunting. But he said he's concerned that some departments might use the costs "as a cover" to avoid the added layer of oversight the cameras bring.

Student Reactions

Bradley Shrader, sophomore computer science and physics major

"I definitely see the expense, but I do feel like body cams are probably, in today's day and age, important," Shrader said.

Dare Oni, sophomore computer science major

"We pay tax money to the police stations so they should always have body cameras just how there's always security cameras," Oni said.

Audrey Brazel, senior dietetics major

"I could see how that could be a good thing just in terms if one person is saying one thing and the police are saying another thing, it's nice to refer to the body camera," Brazel said. "However, it's also a disadvantage to the subjects in some cases."

Whitney Boner, freshman nursing major

"I feel like it's reliable so if they were to do something wrong or if someone were to lie about something they would have evidence," Boner said.


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