Police to implement body cams in summer

Police to implement body cams in summer


RIDGELAND — Police hope to deploy body cameras on every officer who interacts with the public by sometime this summer after receiving a grant of just under $60,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Police Chief John Neal presented a $59,130 grant from the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice to implement body-worn cameras to the city board at their regularly scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 4, meeting at city hall.

Neal said that the grant required a 50-50 match from the city.

Officers in the department have not worn cameras before and will implement them for all patrol, investigative, warrant, animal control and other officers who interact with the public, Neal said.

The grant will procure 54 body cameras, which means that officers will not have a camera personally assigned to each, but there will be enough for any given shift at the police department, Neal said.

Before implementation, Neal said the department would have to draft policies and procedures for using and implementing the cameras. Neal said the process would include looking at sample policies from other departments and offering an opportunity for public input. 

Neal said he hoped to have a plan drafted and the more than 50 cameras procured and implemented sometime this summer.

In other police matters, Neal also said that the department received a $1,000 check in a Christmas card to the department from Karen McKie in memory of her father, Billy Martinson, a longtime Madison County resident who died in January 2020.

Neal said that he intended to work with McKie and Community Development Director Alan Hart to develop a landscaping project on the campus of the police station that would use the funds.

Both the grant and the donation were received unanimously by the Board of Aldermen on the consent agenda following a 6-0 vote with Ward 4 Alderman Brian Ramsey absent.

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