CARMEL, Ind. -- After Carmel Mayor James Brainard crashed his city vehicle in April, Call 6 Investigates uncovered that some of the dash camera video recordings from the scene are missing their audio.
Two Carmel Police officers arrived at scene minutes after Mayor Brainard crashed his city Ford Fusion along Third Avenue SW on April 20. Their two dash camera systems were recording, but for a period of almost 10 minutes, you can't hear any of the conversations between the two officers or their conversation with the mayor.
Instead, those two officer's dash camera systems only record audio from inside the car. In the first car on the scene, you can faintly hear the radio. In the second police car to arrive, just the sound of wipers.
It’s because the first two officers never turned on their wireless microphones, Call 6 Investigates’ learned after spending hours reviewing the police dash camera video from the scene of the crash. The only audio recorded on those systems was from an in-car microphone connected to the system.
It wasn’t until Carmel Police Lt. Adam Miller arrived almost 10 minutes after police initially responded, that you can actually hear conversations.
You can hear the other officers interacting with each other over Lt. Miller's microphone, but what could be key parts of the conversation between officers is impossible to hear.
Lt. Miller: "He's walking back to City Hall to talk to Barb, so he can go get his pee test."
Officer 2: "OK good. (unintelligible)"
Lt. Miller: "I know, he's going to have to go get tested."
Lt. Miller: "That's between me and you though."
We reached out to Carmel Police for an on-camera interview, they declined, but Chief James Barlow sent us an email. He says, "We currently do not require all officers to activate their in-car video system while at a traffic accident."
Barlow cites the police department's policy, "The in-car audio/video system may be deactivated during non-enforcement activities such as when protecting accident scenes."
"While investigating the accident you are referring to, the reporting officer had his audio/video recording,” Barlow said. “The two other officers did not have their audio system on and are not required to by policy."
Call 6 Investigates confronted Mayor Brainard about the incident. When asked if Brainard believed he was "above city policy" since there is no record of a drug or alcohol test following the crash. He responded, "I'm not talking about this today" before walking away.
Carmel's employee handbook states the mayor and other elected officials aren't required to follow rules in the city handbook.
Call 6 Investigates also emailed each member of the city council to learn if they were aware of the exemption. RTV6 is still awaiting a response from each member.
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