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Body Cams on hold for city police

BY NICK MOFFITT | NOVEMBER 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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Despite repealing a previous resolution that would give the Iowa City police funding for body cameras, the cameras will still likely be on officers in the future, one city official says.

The Iowa City City Council voted on Tuesday 7-0 to repeal a resolution related to a body-worn camera system for police.

The council repealed the measure because of new technology becoming available for police to use after Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and became aware of new technology.

Hargadine said now police will have the ability to link the data-management system currently being used for the police car dash cams, which prompted the repeal.

The new technology would allow them to use a single data-management software platform, the software already implemented for dash cams, for both their car and body-worn platforms.

Ultimately, Hargadine said this would cut down on initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs.

The cost of the project would decrease tremendously, going from the $211,000 that the City Council approved on Sept. 16, to what Hargadine said would be “under $50,000.”

Mayor Matt Hayek said the huge decrease in budget is a positive for the city.

“We’re definitely not going to look a budgetary gift horse in the mouth,” he said.

Skepticism councilors originally held was related to an officer would have to physically turn on the camera in the heat of an incident; with the potential new cameras, this has not changed.

“It would be nice if they automatically turned on,” Councilor Terry Dickens said. “But the technology just isn’t there.”

With the repeal of the measure, a new resolution will have to be proposed and Hargadine said they just have to start the process over.

Once the police decide on a budget and plan similar to their previous one, the council will then have to approve that measure to get the ball rolling.

Looking to the future, Hargadine said cameras could be back in front of city councilors soon.

“It’s likely we’ll be able to get [the cameras] done before the end of the year,” he said.


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