Crime & Courts

Officer-involved shooting highlights importance of body cameras

Monday night's officer involved shooting in Charlotte has highlighted the importance of providing police officers with body cameras.

The idea: increase police transparency and record why officers acted the way they did.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, a man was shot Monday night after he fired a gun at two officers who were trying to serve him a warrant.

The officers were not wearing body cameras, police said.

CMPD sources said they have secured $500,000 to pay for body cameras. Some of that money came from the city and the rest was provided through private donations.

While the department has secured the funding, CMPD has not yet been able to equip officers.

In a statement released today, a CMPD spokeswoman said the department is “nearing the conclusion of the bidding process. The next step will be choosing the vendor. There is no definitive timetable at this point.”

Of course, CMPD is not the only department working on acquiring this technology.

We were with the Davidson Police Department earlier this year when their police body cams hit the street.

The department says 18 Davidson officers, working 12-hour shifts, share six body cameras.

Of course cost is an issue for any department.

The Town of Davidson paid $1,100 for each camera.

This week, in response to the unrest in Ferguson and in an attempt to help departments overcome the financial obstacle, President Obama proposed a new Body Worn Camera Partnership Program.

The program would provide a 50 percent match to states/localities who purchase body worn cameras and requisite storage.

Overall, the president said his proposed $75 million investment, over three years, could help purchase 50,000 body worn cameras.

Again, the goal is to improve police transparency and give peace of mind to communities that feel like they are being mistreated by the men and women who are supposed to protect them.