Forum educates community on body cameras

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Body cameras are changing the police world. But the devices are also causing privacy and legal concerns. So to learn more about the pros and cons, the local chapter of the NAACP hosted a body camera forum for police and the community Saturday at Federated Church in West Lafayette.

When it comes to privacy, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep it now that body cameras are the newest accessory to the police uniform.

“Now you can’t hide behind the video,” Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon said.

For most people, body cams are something they hear about but have never seen and know little about.

“When body cameras came out, there wasn’t a lot of guidance that came with them,” Kevin Angell, the CEO of Bridge Media Group LLC and guest speaker at the event, said.

On Saturday, many got schooled on the pros, cons and details of body cams.

“Law enforcement agencies have the cameras, and they have the information,” said Angell. “But sometimes, like the NAACP or the ACLU, they don’t have the information that’s going to be with these programs.”

Angell talked about the legal and privacy issues the cameras come with as well as the storage concerns and cost.

“We’re going to be discussing that at the Statehouse because cost certainly is an issue when it comes to body cameras,” Democratic State Rep. Sheila Klinker said.

Angell said body cams are costing Dallas thousands of dollars after the Dallas shooting. Officers were wearing body cameras, and the footage was later used for evidence.

The state requires murder evidence to be accessible for 100 years or permanently, costing the Dallas Police Department $800,000 for the body cam storage.

“Some way we’re going to need to find an avenue to pay for this in the future, and hopefully the state will kick in and be a part of this decision making,” said Klinker.

But despite their cost and privacy issues, Chief Bacon said they’re worth it.

“I think it will cut down on time spent investigating officer complaints,” said Bacon. “So, there is a whole gambit of things I think it will benefit.”

Comments are closed.