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Currently, 10 of the department’s 50 patrol officers are equipped with the technology.
“We want to make sure that if we have something in place, we have something that’s going to protect citizens, that’s going to protect officers,” Thompson said.
The department’s current program adds five additional body cams each year. Two years ago, it began with five, and it added five more last year.
If the department continues its plan with its current vendor, it would add only five more this year.
“Here we are having to make a decision,” Thompson said. “Do we pull the trigger and go forward with these new five and continue on this? Or do we push pause, wait and work out something to get all of those at once?”
Some of the officers already have experienced technical issues with the technology, and it raises questions about what would happen in a situation where a camera malfunctioned in a situation where the video evidence could be crucial.
That, paired with the department’s emphasis on transparency, is the reason it’s looking at other options.
“If we have a mechanism to where we can be transparent, we’re certainly not opposed to it,” Thompson said.
Thompson said it’s a real possibility that the city and department move forward in the direction that would outfit all of the Elizabethtown Police Department’s patrol officers with body cameras. However, it could cost the city somewhere in the ballpark of $500,000.