LAWRENCE, Ind.- The Lawrence Police Department will soon equip all of its officers with body cameras, making it one of the few agencies in the state to use that kind of technology. The measure is part of a five year contract with Utility Bodyworn, a company that produces the devices and their software. The cameras will cost the city of Lawrence around $60,000 a year.
“We’re not doing this in reaction to anything," said Chief David Hoffman, "we’re doing it ahead of time.” The Chief says the cameras will allow more accountability for both his officers and the citizens they serve.
The cameras are also "smart" pieces of technology. They can be activated by an officer's voice commands, or they can be switched on when a preset trigger happens; for instance, when a patrol car's light bar is turned on or an officer's weapon is drawn. Despite that, the cameras do not record all the time and an officer has the ability to switch the camera off at his or her discretion. Chief Hoffman says the department is working on policies that will govern how and when officers use the cameras.
The department hopes to have each of its 44 officers and their patrol cars equipped with the devices by the end of summer.