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‘Our City’s Patience Has Run Out’: Rep. Pushes For State Mandate On Nashville Body Cameras

Jan. 22, 2020 – Fox17 News (WZTV) – By: Caitlyn Shelton

A lawmaker is pushing for the state to require body cameras for police officers in Nashville.

State Representative John Ray Clemmons introduced legislation Tuesday to mandate the full implementation of body cameras and dash cameras in Nashville by February 10, 2021.

Rep. Clemmons backed his proposal by sharing his belief that the cameras will help restore community trust through transparency and accountability, while also protecting officers and the public.

“Since the Driving While Black report was released on October 25, 2016, 1,183 days have passed and Nashville has had three mayors, three budgets, three RFP’s, two police-related shootings, over $25 million allocated to the MNPD, countless excuses, and very few body cameras,” Clemmons said. “We respectfully understand the challenges, but our city’s patience has run out.”

As drafted, the bill aims to require full implementation of the cameras in Nashville by February 10, 2021, require the police chief to develop procedures with community input, require the storage of video and audio recordings, make the recordings public records with certain exceptions and create a criminal offense for the manipulation of or destroying of the body camera and dash camera recordings.

The legislation comes as a¬†group of national experts on police body cameras visits Nashville. Mayor John Cooper’s office says the visit is intended to help Metro Police finalize plans for deploying the cameras.

The mayor’s office said they plan to travel to Memphis with the federal experts in February to take a look at the use of body cameras there. The group is expected to be called back to Nashville in March for a series of community meetings. That same month, the mayor’s office claims Metro Police will deploy 24 body cameras to their traffic enforcement unit with 20 more cameras rolled out for testing in May.

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