New costs could slow Metro Police getting body cameras

(Fox 17 News)

Many Nashville residents are frustrated by a new snag in the process of outfitting Metro Police officers with body cameras.

Estimates sent to Mayor David Briley's office suggest the city will need $11 million to hire staff and create the infrastructure needed to process the video the cameras record. That is money that the city did not budget for, and the price tag is significantly higher than the $1.5 million Seattle, a larger city, spent to implement their body cameras over the last 12 months.

"Body cameras, also not a new, radical or novel idea. Getting these basic things into place has been too tedious or too long a struggle," said Theeda Murphy who is frustrated by the process. "We're tired of everything being such a struggle and involving so much drama to get anything changed."

The district attorney's office also believes it will need additional staffers to handle the new video evidence.

"A field-trial of body cameras begins this month and will continue through the fall," Mayor David Briley said through a spokesperson. "The full program will be in place after a thorough procurement process that leads to the best outcome for the city."

The procurement process will be complete next April, according to officials.

Defense attorney Leah Wilson says she is convinced that body cameras would help the city achieve justice in a higher percentage of cases.

"It helps the defense and the prosecution when there is video," Wilson said. "The police officers I've talked to, I think they would want it."

With privacy, costs, transparency and data storage concerns, the introduction of the body camera program is something that requires significant planning as well as community input.

The mayor has asked each participating department to submit estimated costs for implementing the program. However, no cost estimates are determined because the program is under development.

The cost estimates come from a variety of sources including the departments that will use or process the body camera footage.

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