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Body Cams On FW City Council Agenda

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FILE PHOTO: Rebecca Green
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WBOI

Fort Wayne City Council will discuss the purchase and potential requirement of body cameras for the city’s police department during its meeting Tuesday.

The bipartisan measure is co-sponsored by Democrats Michelle Chambers and Sharon Tucker, along with Republican Russ Jehl -- an effective head start for the measure that will only require two more approvals for passage, with six members to win over.

The conversation around police body cams in Fort Wayne began after police clashed with protesters downtown amid demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. 

The ordinance would require officers “to use and maintain, as part of the standard uniform, an operational Body Camera, type as determined and implemented by the Fort Wayne Police Department,” with an implementation plan in 2021 and effective no later than December 31, 2022. Since Council serves as the city’s fiscal body, the measure outlines three budgetary possibilities to be determined with Mayor Tom Henry.

In a discussion with police Chief Steve Reed several weeks after the conflict downtown, Chambers and Tucker both raised concerns over the lack of accountability provided by body cameras, and the need for them.

Jehl’s support isn’t a surprise, either. He previously made his support for body cams known when he stated in June that they have been promised as part of the city budget for many years and, as a result, he wouldn’t support another until the issue was finally taken care of.

City Council will meet on Tuesday at 5:30 in the lower level of Citizens Square. The meeting can also be viewed on the city website, Facebook and Comcast Channel 58.

 

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered. He currently hosts Morning Edition.