INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is kicking off a new pilot program.
Twelve officers will start wearing body cameras during their shifts. It’s estimated that each camera costs around $800.
Outfitting officers with the body cameras is part of a national push to document officer interactions with residents while working the beat. The cameras come after several high profile national cases where people were killed in police custody.
Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Then in New York, Eric Garner died after NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed Garner in a choke hold. Despite the incident being caught on camera, a grand jury decided not to charge Pantaleo.
Here locally, there are several unanswered legal and financial questions on if the camera pilot program will work.
24-Hour News 8 has learned that the footage taken during this trial period will be used as evidence for possible criminal cases. Another obstacle IMPD will try to determine is if residents want the cameras.
“Cameras are going to be in the neighborhoods and also in homes,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Brian Mahone. “We have to make sure the people of Indianapolis want these cameras as part of their police force.”
According to IMPD Lt. Mark Wood, the cameras could work to dispel claims of police brutality, and it could also work to prove claims against officers as well.
“I think it is everybody’s benefit,” said Wood.
The cameras can hold 12 hours worth of video and can be downloaded in 5 to 8 minutes. It’s estimated it could cost IMPD about $3 million to outfit the whole department with the cameras. The cameras are only on a trial for the next 60 days. Currently the cameras are being used mainly in the traffic department.