NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - It’s been almost three years since Nashville’s mayor promised to outfit police officers with body cameras. On Wednesday, one state lawmaker announced he’s giving them one more year to get it done.
State Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, will be introducing legislation setting a hard deadline for Metro Police to roll out body and car cameras: Feb. 10, 2021.
“Our patience has run out,” Clemmons said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Citizens of Nashville have waited through three mayors and two police shootings.
Faith leaders and community activists gathered at the Tennessee State Capitol on Wednesday to support Clemmons’ deadline.
“We just want transparency and accountability,” said James Turner, pastor at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. “I’m 40 years old plus and I still have fear when a police officer is behind me.”
In February 2017 after the controversial police shooting death of Jocques Clemmons, then-Mayor Megan Barry formed an advisory group to write model policies and procedures for body cameras.
Three years later, that work is still in progress.
On Wednesday a group met behind closed doors outside the Mayor’s office. A group of experts paid by the U.S. Department of Justice is giving technical advice on the body camera rollout, which is due to begin in March.
Cost has been one factor in the delays. One city consultant has said the program could cost as much as $30 million annually. But after a day and half of meetings with the Justice Department experts, a representative from the Mayor’s office said the experts think it will cost less.
“I’m very optimistic we are going to be able to come up with a cost-effective approach to doing this,” said John Buntin, Director of Policy/Community Safety for Mayor John Cooper’s office.