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IMPD to get body cams this summer, mayor says

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Posted at 11:56 AM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 17:41:59-04

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will get body-worn cameras this summer, Mayor Joe Hogsett said Tuesday.

The announcement came as Hogsett and his administration work to strengthen trust between IMPD and the community after the police shooting of Dreasjon Reed last week.

Hogsett said the body camera program will begin this summer, with the goal of outfitting 100 officers per week. He said Tuesday's announcement wasn't necessarily driven by the last week, but the events underscore the need for the cameras.

The body camera discussion picked up steam a few years ago, with the fatal police shooting of Aaron Bailey. For the past 18 months, Hogsett says, the administration has examined best practices across the country. Indianapolis had a pilot program for body cameras last summer.

"There has been diligence in working toward today's announcement," Hogsett said.

Hogsett also announced the creation of a Use of Force Review Board, which will be made up of both officers and civilians. The members of the board will be appointed by the mayor, the president of the City-County Council and the members of IMPD. The board will review force by IMPD officers, such as physical altercations, deployment of a taser or use of a firearm.

The board will not have the authority to recommend discipline but will instead make an advisory finding. It will be replacing the Firearms Review Board.

Community leaders said the policy changes won't ease the pain some community members are feeling right now but they are positive steps for the future.

"What we want out of all of this is to have decisions that are made that the greatest majority of people in the community can say we believe this has been fair, we believe this has been just, we believe that this has been given review and that we minimize the question and lingering hurt that currently exists," Willis Bright, chairman of the African American Coalition of Indianapolis, said.

Hogsett said the changes were already in the works before last week.

"The community understandably wants the assurance that the city and IMPD are doing everything they can to provide officers the best equipment that protects them, protects the community as a whole," Hogsett said.