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As more of the nation’s attention is focused on police shootings, more police departments are putting body-worn cameras on their officers.

The idea is to improve relations and trust between police and the community.

But bodycams raise some sticky questions about balancing transparency and respecting privacy.

Michigan drivers have become all too familiar with the dreaded pothole.
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This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss another road funding plan, proposed changes for medical marijuana cardholders, and body cameras.


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The Lansing Police Department announced today it will begin a body camera pilot program.

Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski says the department has been considering body cameras since 2013.

Grand Rapids police officer directing traffic.
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The Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously decided this morning to approve requiring city police to wear body cameras.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith says the decision is part of a $1.5 million public safety plan that was unveiled earlier this month. The plan also includes hiring more police officers, a study of racial profiling in the area, and creating more inclusive hiring practices for the city, according to Smith.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids’ city manager wants police officers to start wearing body cameras by March.

City Manager Greg Sundstrom and Police Chief David Rahinsky do not believe racial profiling is a problem in the Grand Rapids Police Department. But there have been claims to the contrary in the wake of incidents in New York and Ferguson, Missouri.

Police
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The police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the death of Eric Garner while being arrested in New York City have fired up the conversation about body cameras for police.

Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Lowell in Kent County are all beginning to outfit their officers with body cameras.

Grand Rapids police are seriously considering them.

But there are a host of challenging privacy issues being uncorked here.

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says he’d like all of his officers to wear body cameras by 2016.

Hadley has some concerns about citizens’ privacy and the costs, but he thinks the cameras will be worth it.

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri and the death of Eric Garner in New York, there's been a national and local conversation about body-worn cameras for cops. Here in Michigan, Ann Arbor is one of the more recent communities to bring up this discussion.

The positives of these cameras are obvious: They help the public hold police officers accountable for their actions, supply evidence for potential cases of misconduct, and hopefully help to restore some of the trust in law enforcement. 

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Ypsilanti's city council approved body cameras for police officers at Tuesday night’s meeting in city hall.

Police Chief Tony DeGiusti requested the cameras as part of a series of overdue updates to the department’s deteriorating patrol car cameras, microphones and the DVD burning system police use to make copies of patrol videos for lawyers.

taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Obama administration announced that it will dedicate $263 million to body cameras for police officers. 

The White House has said it will match the spending of local law enforcement agencies in hopes of making body cameras more prominent.

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Police in Kalamazoo are testing body cameras that attach to officer uniforms to record video and audio.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Saturday that Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says cameras add a layer of transparency and he wants to make them standard equipment.

Hadley says that body cameras "make sense" and protect officers and the community.