BRPD Body Camera Cmte. argues over policy issues, talks new make of cameras

BRPD Body Camera Cmte. argues over policy issues, talks new make of cameras

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A discussion on Thursday between members of the Baton Rouge Police Body Camera Study Committee was the most heated thus far.

"You're wrong. You're just wrong," BRPD Legal Advisor Kim Brooks said to Paul Guidry, a criminal justice instructor at BRCC.

Police said officers should be able to review body camera video before writing reports. Guidry said they should not, referencing national stories of officers tampering with reports and body cams.

"This isn't Chicago, sir," Brooks said to Guidry.

"Well, I don't know that," replied Guidry.

Later in an interview, Guidry said. "We've got to be honest with one another. I mean you can't stop a rotten apple in any job."

Guidry was also vocal about the wording of the BRPD body camera policy. He said when looking at the officer responsibility section, the word 'should' needs to be replaced with 'will.'

Police said they're open to tweaking that language.

"I think the meeting was productive," said BRPD Deputy Chief David Hamilton. "I think we're moving in the right direction."

Hamilton sat in place of an absent Chief Carl Dabadie.

Due to technical problems, police this week replaced the original 100 cameras they bought last year.

"We would have been putting a lot of good money into a bad program," said Lt. Steve Wilkison.

Officers are now wearing body cameras made by the same company that makes the cameras in their cars. Leaders said they got the 70 new cameras and storage for free.

"I'm excited that we didn't commit to a system that would not work for our officers," said State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, the chairwoman of the committee.

She is calling on members to figure out how much more money BRPD will need to put cameras on all officers once the pilot program ends in the summer.

Police said they should have a better idea of that in May when they present their budget request. Hamilton said they're looking everyday for possible funding.

Leaders will report to the East Baton Rouge Metro Council on March 23 and tell them how the new batch of cameras are going.

The committee itself will next meet sometime after that.

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