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Body cameras

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about an approved plan for Waukesha, Wisconsin to divert water from Lake Michigan, Enbridge Energy's announcement that it will spend $7 million on new equipment to clean up oil spills, and the growing use of body cameras in police departments.

In full disclosure, Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.


Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit police are about to start recording far more of what they do.

The Detroit City Council approved a $5.2 million contract for police body cameras and in-car video systems Tuesday.

The move has the support of Detroit Police Chief James Craig, and the city’s police unions.

Craig says the department just escaped more than a decade of federal oversight for unconstitutional policing practices. Now, the challenge is sustaining the progress it made.

Wikimedia

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.

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

Body cameras for Grand Rapids police officers have started coming in.

WOOD-TV and The Grand Rapids Press report that 20 officers wore the cameras Thursday night after the city received its first shipment of the equipment.

The department has ordered 298 cameras. A pilot program was held earlier this year.

A number of other Michigan departments and police agencies across the country are considering adding the cameras as a level of transparency during potential clashes with crime suspects or other members of the public.

Rebecca Kruth

The Detroit Police Department says it's moving forward with plans to put body cameras on all officers. All marked police vehicles will have dashboard cameras too.

Last spring, the DPD announced a 90-day pilot program to test several body cameras in the field.

Mayor Mike Duggan said the 20 officers who volunteered to be part of the program concluded "the technology works."

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

All Michigan police would have to wear body cameras under a new bill in Lansing.

While several police departments around the state already have body cameras or are planning to adopt them, State Rep. Rose Mary Robinson, D-Detroit, is sponsoring a bill that would make them universal. 

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced it will start testing body cameras on agents in the field. The first phase of the feasibility study took place in the border agency's training academies from October through December 2014.

CBP says its goal is greater transparency and accountability.