Jackson police discuss body cameras

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JACKSON, Tenn. — Officials at the Jackson Police Department said they are working to better arm their officers — not with weapons, but with on-officer cameras to give a video account of interactions with suspects. “Hopefully this is a win-win situation for both sides,” Barry Michael, deputy chief for the Jackson Police Department said Tuesday. “They’ll be less likely to use force, and those that get accused will pretty well know very quickly whether those allegations are true or not,” Michael said. It is a project heavily backed by the NAACP. Tuesday, the local NAACP chapter reached out to the city council in support of the body cameras. “We believe this is a good step as far as law enforcement and community and making sure that people trust their law enforcement,” said Dan Hoyt, political action committee chair of the Jackson-Madison County Chapter of the NAACP. The Jackson Police Department said they are hoping the body cams and dash cams can help to give the best perspective of what happens. The department is currently reviewing different brands of body cameras to determine which will best suit their officers. They soon will test prototypes that differ from cameras available off retail store shelves. “The body cameras we’re looking at, the video cannot be altered by the officers, so it will download to the software and it cannot be altered,” Michael said. But that security will cost a little extra. “When you look at purchasing 70 of those, if you go on the high end, we’re looking at $70,000,” Michael said. Officials with the department say they hope to be testing cameras on officers by April. Once they decide on a brand of body camera, they will present it to the city council for approval. The department hopes to have 70-plus cameras, which would be enough to equip one full shift and allow a new shift to start. Department leaders say they hope to have officers equipped by June or July.

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