BRPD Chief: Body camera implementation going well

BRPD Chief: Body camera implementation going well

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There was a lot of positivity at City Hall Wednesday about Baton Rouge Police using body cameras.

"This is a great process. Thank you for doing this," said Robert Travis Scott, the president of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana.

"Both from our officers and the public, we've received great reviews," said Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie.

BRPD is in a ten-month pilot program with the body cameras. Police say since the first week of October, when officers began wearing the cameras, over 3,200 videos have been recorded. That's an average of over 100 a day or just over one per camera.

"We've had a couple mechanical issues with the cameras, but by having extra cameras here and being able to replace them, it hasn't caused any issues," said Chief Dabadie.

State Representative-elect C. Denise Marcelle leads the body camera committee. Speaking to members Wednesday, she told them the committee will be dedicated to ultimately putting cameras on all officers.

The 100 pilot cameras being used now make up 35 percent of the force.

"It has to be a priority of the police department and the Metro Council members to continue to fund the body cameras," said Marcelle.

That process remains an issue. The 100 cameras already in place cost police $105,000. Another 200 will cost hundreds of thousands more.

Leaders say they've applied for federal gr ants to pay the bill, but they have a lot of competition.

"Every police department in this country is putting in for those gr ants because they want to be able to fund their camera program," said Chief Dabadie.  "So everybody's after the same amount of money or the same pot of money."

Former BRPD Chief Jeff LeDuff also addressed concerns of legal matters surrounding privacy. Overall though, leaders say they're on the same page about further implementing the cameras.

"We're going to set the tone for the rest of the state of how the policy should be written," said Marcelle.

"Baton Rouge is basically going to be setting the standard and the model for what other parishes and other cities are going to be doing, probably even more so than New Orleans," said Scott.

The committee will meet again at City Hall on December 8.

Before the meeting in two weeks, police will meet with representatives of a different maker of body cameras.

BRPD said they are open to using other cameras than the ones they are currently using in the pilot program.

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