BRPD Body Camera Cmte. talks policy, minor problems with new cameras

Baton Rouge officials butt heads over new BRPD body camera issues

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Body Camera Study Committee was divided Tuesday at city hall over what emerged as hot topic.

Police Chief Carl Dabadie said he thinks officers should be allowed to review body camera video before writing an incident report.

Committee chairwoman C. Denise Marcelle disagreed.

"Just like anybody else would review their notes before they type or write an initial report or a final report, I think it's important that the officer be able to do the same thing," Dabadie said.

"We should not allow them to look at the video and then write their story because you don't allow citizens to do it and I think it's an issue of transparency," Marcelle stated.

What leaders could agree on was Tuesday's meeting covered the most ground seen so far from the committee, including new issues emerging with some of the cameras.

"There's very little visual indicator on the camera whether the camera is recording or not," Lt. Steve Wilkison with BRPD said. "You feel you have stopped recording and you have not and you continue to record going from call to call. That can create a nightmare in court."

Wilkison added the cameras also have durability issues. Some have been damaged by being dropped.

The concerns could persuade officials to purchase a different make of camera once the current 10-month pilot program ends in the summer. Police continue to wait on receiving potential grants to pay for cameras for the rest of the department.

Long-term storage of video is also a costly issue. Police said they would need more than $400,000 for archiving video.

The body camera committee will meet again on January 6. On January 27, the committee will present a report to the Metro Council.

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