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IMPD: "We want a solid policy" on body cameras

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Posted at 11:18 PM, Mar 04, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department gathered feedback for a draft policy on body-worn cameras.

Officers with the Southeast District took questions for well over an hour on Monday night. Some of them involved concerns over privacy and whether officers should be able to decide when to activate their body cameras.

Everyone seemed to agree - body cameras are good for transparency. It's in the details where people disagree.

"You hear differences," Major Harold Turner said. "'We never want the cameras to go off. Well we want the cameras to go off in sensitive situations.'"

At the first of six listening sessions aimed at getting public feedback, there's one thing that's hard to miss: "We were the youngest people here, we were the only people of color," Rekia and Alexis, both members of Indy-10 Black Lives Matter, said.

"There's an entire population of people who were not represented here tonight," Rekia said.

If this is meant to build trust in the communities of color, both said there's more room to engage.

"Our main concern is that the recordings will be used to prosecute civilians and no officer would be prosecuted," Alexis said.

Another concern - should an officer be free to activate the camera whenever they choose?

"Camera can be activated by either the officer drawing their gun, sirens, perhaps answering the call at the computer," a community member said.

The department - taking notes at every session - adds the community's comments to a report that will help create a standard operating procedure.

"Once we finalize standard operating procedure, all of this will go into that final written directive," Major Turner said.

From there, they will launch a two month pilot program that tests out three different devices before making a final decision on implementing body cameras across the city.

You can find the schedule of the IMPD community listening sessions here.

The Indianapolis community can also take part in the conversation by accessing a web-based survey created and maintained by Indiana University Purdue University Indianpolis (IUPUI).

READ | IMPD seeks public's opinion on body-worn cameras in IUPUI survey |