FRANKLIN — The City of Franklin will be spending thousands of dollars to have police officers wear body cameras.
The plan was to have officers get their cameras this month, but the pandemic delayed their equipment's shipment.
Franklin's finest will be the latest in the growing list of police departments to be equipped with body cameras.
"Whether it be a domestic situation, a crash, a homicide, any type of crime, it's an impartial witness," Kirby Cochran, the Franklin PD police chief, said.
The department has received some of the equipment, but not all of it due to COVID-19.
When the boxes are opened, Franklin's 53 officers will use the same technology currently on the streets of Indianapolis. Metro Police launched their body cam system this fall, and Franklin will now begin in the new year.
"Make sure we develop policies and procedures that allow the video to be released when it needs to be released, not any sooner to be released without jeopardizing cases," Cochran said. "We want the public to know we are a transparent police department, and we are trying to build community partnerships to the next level. We believe this tool will get us to the next level."
Franklin PD is also placing dash cams in every single squad car as part of this program. Five years ago, Steve Barnett was on the City Council, and the technology at the time was considered unaffordable. Barnett, who's now the Mayor, says $565,000 will pay for the entire camera system. Adding that, by waiting, the city saved more than a million dollars considering the prices back in 2015.
"I believe this is a must-have. It will make our community much safer," Barnett said. "It brings professional integrity, trust, it's a good tool to have."
So, the new year will record the sights and sounds of every Franklin police officer on the job. The police chief expects to launch the body cam program in early January.
The next big police agency to get cameras will be the Indiana State Police. ISP says their goal is to deploy their body cameras this spring.