La. committee works on plans to put body cameras on all law enforcement officers in the state

La. committee works on plans to put body cameras on all law enforcement officers in the state

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Law Enforcement Body Camera Implementation Task Force met for the first time Wednesday at the Louisiana State Capitol.

The committee is made up of lawmakers, mayors, law enforcement and other leaders from around the state.

Outgoing state Rep. Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge, led efforts a year ago to put body cameras on everyone in Louisiana enforcing the law.

"It's protection for the officer and for the public," Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, a member of the task force, said.

"I don't want to see Louisiana in the national news like some of these other states," Honore added.

His legislation created the committee that is now working to present general guidelines to the legislature on how to make Honore's vision a reality this upcoming session.

Baton Rouge attorney Franz Borghardt is leading the committee. The group will tackle issues of privacy, safety and money.

"We know that we're limited in terms of dollars, but this has to be a priority," Alfreda Tillman Bester of the LA State Conference of the NAACP said.

Should the legislature mandate a universal policy for the whole state?

"We start using words like 'mandate,' Col. David Staton with Louisiana State Police said. "That's a dangerous word."

LSP is against mandates and instead favor allowing local departments to take the guidelines and tailor them to their community.

The ACLU questions if it's even constitutional.

"What mandates are even legally permissible?" Marjorie Esman, executive director of Louisiana ACLU, asked.

Perhaps the biggest issue for the group is time. The new year will bring a new governor and a new legislature. Capitol staff members said that means a busier schedule and more of a time crunch to get anything done ahead of session in the spring.

Can the committee accomplish what it hopes to given the short time frame?

"I'm very optimistic, but it's certainly nothing that we need to rush," Chairman Franz Borghardt answered. "This is such a crucial and important thing. It needs to be a priority, but the priority needs to be appropriately approached."

Borghardt is giving members a January 15 deadline to submit their ideas.

The task force is scheduled to meet again on January 29.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.