New Indiana body camera law putting stress on cash-strapped departments

New body camera law putting pressure on cash-strapped departments

Some Indiana police departments are ditching body cameras for officers, after legislators pass more restrictions which will end up costing thousands of dollars.

Evansville Police Captain Andy Chandler says the department is not ditching body cams, like some other departments.

But EPD now has to make costly purchases to keep up with the new law.

The Evansville Police Department has over 200 officers and every officer has a body camera, according to Captain Chandler.

Those cameras are supposed to be recording every time the officer interacts with the public.

According to a previous story from 14 NEWS, EPD already has 350,000-360,000 videos on storage servers.

With the new regulations, EPD has to store the video longer, provide video when the public requests it, and buy costly software to blur certain images in the video.

" This is going to be very expensive," explains Captain Andy Chandler.

"These are a great tool, and I'm all for the body cameras.  But our budget is tight as it is, now this money is going to have to come from somewhere."

New regulations mean the department must keep all videos for 190 days, according to Captain Andy Chandler.

Anyone with a legitimate request, may file an open records request for a copy of the police footage.

The EPD will need to train an officer to use software to blur sensitive items in the video such as minors, serious accident injuries, and sensitive personal information.

That type of software doesn't exist yet and Digital Ally, the company EPD bought cameras from, is working to design it.

EPD will also have to spend money building a public computer video viewing room for the public to use.

An officer will have to watch hours of footage and then present it to the person requesting a copy, taking that officer away from their normal duties.

From now on, it will cost the public $150 to obtain a copy of body camera footage.

Since EPD starting using body cameras, the number of officer-conduct complaints from the public have been cut in half.

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