BRPD body camera mandate delayed again by Metro Council

BRPD body camera mandate delayed again

By the end of the summer, 100 Baton Rouge Police officers from District One will be outfitted with body cameras. It's part of what many have called a new era of transparency in policing. 

However, it has yet to be decided when the rest of the department will join them in using this new tool.

According to a much debated mandate proposed by Metro Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle, that date should be January 2016.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "This is not rocket science. We're not reinventing the wheel. We're just putting the wheel on in Baton Rouge," said Marcelle in the latest council meeting.

While the council, BRPD and the Mayor's office have all voiced their support of using body cams, in the latest round of debates before the council many questioned the timeline. 

By mandating a January start date, BRPD would have to budget for it. Unfortunately, there is still no bottom line on the total cost which makes planning for the budget difficult.

Chief Carl Dabadie acknowledged that if the mandated costs were more than expected, he would be forced to trim back other areas of his budget which could include other non-mandated equipment or even personnel. 

Marcelle was quick to point out that federal funding could help offset a lot of the costs. 

There were also questions about the body cam policies, like who would have access to the video and how it would be stored. Dabadie says his department is looking at the best practices from around the country to write BRPD's policy, and that each officer would be fully trained and versed in the policy.

He also said that any "kinks" would be worked out with the upcoming pilot program.   

In the end, the biggest hurdle was the absence of four council members. After an initial vote failed, the ordinance was deferred for two weeks until June 10.

The pilot program will cost around $100,000.

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