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IMPD details specifics on police body camera deal

Over 1,000 officers will wear them
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Posted at 3:09 PM, Jul 09, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Within the coming weeks, officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will begin to wear body cameras.

As first reported by WRTV late-Wednesday, the department has signed a contract to purchase enough cameras for 1,100 officers. Police in the high-crime IMPD East District, the busiest in the city, will be the first to get them. All 1,100 officers should be outfitted by late in the year.

Many groups and individuals in the city have been calling for the cameras for some time as a means to improve police accountability. In May, Mayor Joe Hogset said he expected to see officers with the cameras by this summer.

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Thursday, the department detailed specifics of the initiative. IMPD signed a five-year, $9 million contract with Utility Associates, the company that makes and distributes the cameras. The contract covers the costs of leasing the technology, installation of the equipment, upgrades to the technology after three years, maintenance and local support to address any technology issues, and cloud-based video storage.

This technology allows for the decentralized uploading of footage as well as automated recording triggers that will turn the cameras on in certain situations, including:

• Being within 500 feet of a dispatched run
• Drawing the gun from its holster
• Beginning to run
• Lying flat for 10 seconds
• Violently shaking, such as during a fight
• Activating lights and/or sirens in the car
• Unlocking the shotgun rack

"After a thorough, research-driven process of gathering community feedback and testing available technology, we are now one step closer to the start of a body worn camera program on the IMPD," said Police Chief Randal Taylor. "But this program represents just one of the ways IMPD officers continue working to build community trust. We remain dedicated to serving Indianapolis neighborhoods every day, building stronger relationships with residents that allow us to work together to make our city a safer place for everyone.

The 1,100 officers being outfitted with body cameras in this initial rollout are those that respond to 9-1-1 calls, including beat officers, street supervisors, and special units.

“Last year, we partnered with the City-County Council to identify the funds needed to launch this program following a period of community feedback. Peaceful protests in recent weeks have renewed calls to equip our officers with this important technology,” said Mayor Hogsett. “The signing of this contract represents a years-long, significant investment in transparency and accountability that will benefit both our IMPD officers and the residents they serve.”

IMPD has assigned Lieutenant Scott Kulig to oversee the body worn camera program and is in the process of hiring civilians to manage, review, and redact footage. These positions will cost the City $159,000 in addition to the contract with Utility. These funds were included in the 2020 City-County Budget.