Jan. 22, 2020 – News2 (WKRN) – By: Brent Remadna
Nashville residents have heard the same thing year after year.
“Wanting to put body cameras on our officers is a top priority,” said former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry in 2017.
“They will be in the field this fall,” said former Nashville mayor David Briley in 2018.
The push for body cameras has never materialized past talks though, but now State Rep. John Ray Clemmons is joining the fight by introducing a new bill that would require MNPD officers to wear the cameras.
“We simply and respectfully believe that the residents of Nashville deserve action,” said Rep. Clemmons. “Therefore we are attempting to codify a date certain on which people can expect action.”
The legislation, as drafted, would require full implementation of body-worn and patrol car cameras in Metro Nashville by February 10, 2021. It would require the chief law enforcement official to develop and implement policies and procedures with community input.
It would also make it a criminal offense for manipulation of, tampering with, or destroying audio and visual recordings and make device recordings public records with certain currently codified exceptions.
“Oher cities larger than Nashville and smaller or similarly sized have adopted this and moved forward and found a way to do this,” said Rep. Clemmons. “Of course we are in a constant battle up here for funding for local government and we have been pinched in multiple ways.”
The MNPD expects to deploy the first body-worn and in-car camera systems to Traffic Unit officers in March.