Indianapolis FOP calls for IMPD officers to be equipped with body cameras

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –  The Indianapolis Fraternal of Police (FOP) is calling for IMPD officers to be equipped with body cameras. They are also asking for gunshot detectors to be installed and license plate readers.

Indianapolis FOP President Rick Synder said the city’s 2018 record-breaking homicide rate shows that there needs to be a conversation about IMPD officers being equipped with body cameras.

“The inconvenient truth that these numbers demonstrate is the failure of our society as a whole,” Indianapolis FOP President Rick Synder.

Synder said IMPD officers need new technology now more than ever, which includes body cameras.

“In addition to body worn cameras, we are also calling for an investment in additional check technology to support the Crime Gun Intelligent center that IMPD just stood up and began operating,” Synder said.

The cost wouldn’t be cheap. The new equipment plus where to store all the video data would have a price tag of about $15 to $20 million.

“Our hope was that technology had improved enough by now that those costs would keep coming down. That’s not necessarily the case,”  Synder explained.

Paying for the new technology would have to come from somewhere.

“The funding has to be in addition to what we are already funding the police department at. It can’t be in lieu of these critical other things we are doing,” Synder said.

Synder said the city can’t keep putting off the conversation on equipping officers with body cameras. In 2016, the FOP issued a call to action to provide IMPD officers with protective equipment.

Synder said currently all officers are equipped with lifesaving trauma kits, ballistic helmets and external tactical body armor.

“We can come to the table and productively contribute to the discussion. We can come to the table and help find the money just like we did with the public safety task increase. Just like we did with the staffing commission,” Synder said.

Synder said officers are doing a great job responding to calls and making arrests. He said many have told him they want body cameras.

A spokesperson for the city and IMPD said Mayor Hogsett and Chief Roach have expressed interest in body cams and they are actively still engaging with other departments around the country to see what body camera program makes sense in Indianapolis.

The FOP also talked about their concern about the number of IMPD officers leaving. Synder said  last year 110 officers left and 40 more are scheduled to leave by the end of the quarter this year.

IMPD sent us a statement in regards to FOP’s press conference:

“Chief Roach and Mayor Hogsett have long expressed interest in body cams for our officers, and have talked about our efforts to move toward the launch of a program for the last several years. Working toward deployment of a pilot program in 2019, we have continued to engage in discussions with both police agencies across the country and local stakeholders about what policies and procedures should be in place to ensure any future body cam program in Indianapolis is a benefit to the safety of both our officers and our city’s residents. Following the cutover to the new Computer-Aided Dispatch last fall, IMPD for the first time has the technology infrastructure in place to support such a program. Further, with unanimous support from the City-County Council, Mayor Hogsett’s 2019 budget includes roughly $2 million in public safety technology investments, including funding to add more surveillance cameras and replace broken ones around the city as well as access to a larger database for license plate readers. There were also discussions around the budget process about a potential pilot program for shots fired detection technology.”

The majority of those who left IMPD in 2018 retired after more than 30 years of service, with the second largest group to exit the department made up of individuals who did not complete their training and never received an assignment in a district. It’s worth noting that officers can leave the department with a pension after just 20 years of service.

In 2019, the city will build upon the significant progress we saw in the second half of last year by expanding our ongoing violence reduction strategies. Among these efforts include:

  • Shrinking the geographic areas of IMPD beats, increasing the number of beats to roughly 120 following the initial rollout of 78 beats last year.
  • Formally launching the Crime Gun Intelligence Center, an interagency collaboration focused on the timely collection, management, and analysis of crime gun evidence to identify serial shooters, disrupt violent crime, and remove crime guns from the community.
  • Hiring two additional Peacemakers and beginning group violence interventions, a model that targets individuals at highest risk of being the victim or perpetrator of a violent crime to deliver a collective message that the community disapproves of the violence, that there will be consequences and targeted enforcement if the violence continues, and that support and healthier options are available to help them break the cycle of violence.
  • Close to $4 million budgeted for grants to support grassroots, neighborhood-based crime prevention efforts.”

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