Metro Council weighs immediately buying 168 body cameras for pol - WSMV News 4

Metro Council weighs immediately buying 168 body cameras for police

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Mayor Megan Barry says she will ask for body cameras for all Metro officers in next year's budget. (WSMV file photo) Mayor Megan Barry says she will ask for body cameras for all Metro officers in next year's budget. (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Seven Metro Council members are calling for immediate body cameras for Metro police following the shooting death of Jocques Clemmons last month.

A resolution is scheduled to go for a vote during the council meeting Tuesday, asking for the city to buy 168 body cameras for Metro's flex officers who patrol high crime areas and public housing developments.

Clemmons was fatally shot by flex officer Joshua Lippert on Feb. 10. Police said Clemmons had a gun.

"I know it's not satisfying to hear people say it's complicated and it's going to take time, but it's complicated and it's going to take time," said city attorney Mike Jameson, during a community meeting with the Justice for Jocques group last week.

Metro Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher, one co-sponsor on the resolution, said Monday the cameras would cost anywhere from $25,000 to $67,000, and it would cost an additional $15,000 for infrastructure to run the cameras. The resolution calls for the 168 cameras to be phased in, and police would need to have a time line in place to use them no later than June.

"This is a serious matter and we need to move forward with showing the community that we actually acted on their behalf," Vercher said.

But Metro police said they are working to have all cameras in use at the same time, and they still need to develop the policies on when to use them and figure out where to store the footage. Police officials said they are putting together a budget proposal for the mayor to present later this month.

The mayor's office said the cameras could cost anywhere from $12 million to $30 million for every Nashville officer.

Body cameras are spurring lots of questions outside of Nashville. State legislators are also weighing in on how they should be used in all cities.

Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, is heading up a bill that would restrict open records access of footage when a body camera records a minor, inside a healthcare facility or inside a home when there's no crime committed.

"We want to make sure we do this right because the public has expectations, the police have requirements and it deals with people's privacy," Whitson said.

The resolution for the Flex officer body cameras was discussed in a committee hearing Monday. Finance officials would have to figure out where the money would come to buy the cameras if council approves it Tuesday.

Mayor Megan Barry said they have community advisory groups to help develop best practices, and the follow-up meeting will be on March 9 and March 22.

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