CMPD will soon equip officers with new body cameras - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

CMPD will soon equip officers with new body cameras

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte City Council approved the use of $250,000 in seized drug money for local police officers to purchase body cameras.

At this point, officials don't know how many cameras they can buy with the money, but the goal is for every officer to have a body camera while on duty by the end of the summer.

In just a few months, if you call 911, file a police report, or get pulled over on the side of the road, you can expect to be recorded with new police body cameras.

"The video is recorded to a device. The device then uploads the video into our system," said CMPD Major Steve Willis.

Willis is overseeing the video camera proposal. He answered questions from council members Monday night about the new technology.

"We've always been tied to a car. We've only been able to capture from traffic stops and incidents that capture from the front side of a motor vehicle," Willis said.

The cameras would physically be attached to the officer, and that officer won't be able to erase the video.

WBTV checked with citizens to see what they think about the camera idea.

"I'm big on the invasion of privacy issue, so I wouldn't want it to happen if I had a say," said Charlotte resident Troy Lee.

According to the proposal, citizens don't really have a say in the matter, because the money doesn't come from taxpayers. Most of the money police seized from drug deals.

"(They will) hold our officers accountable for their actions that may have taken that might not be appropriate," Willis said.

Had the technology existed in Charlotte, last year, a camera may have been rolling the night police say former CMPD Officer Randall Kerrick shot an unarmed Jonathan Ferrell in September.

Willis was quick to point out, that the camera won't only hold officers accountable. He said citizens will be under the microscope as well, leaving little to no gray area about what happened.

WBTV spoke to Cherryville police officials. They already have 9 body cameras that they recently purchased.  Each camera in Cherryville costs $400.

CMPD heads will check out prices and different companies and they hope to start buying the cameras this summer.

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