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Nashville police to begin full deployment of body-worn cameras

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —After two years of negotiations, Nashville is rolling out full deployment of body-worn cameras.

Mayor Cooper announced the city renegotiated better contracts with body camera vendors to reduce the estimated cost from $40 million to $2.1 million. New staffing requirements for the body-worn cameras went from an estimated 200 new staff to about 16.

Cooper said this is made possible by working with its vendor, Motorola, previously WatchGuard Inc. Motorola has agreed to delay payment for Nashville's camera system for two years. Agreements in payments won't commence until Fiscal Year 2023.

“Body-worn cameras will promote trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they are sworn to serve,” said Mayor Cooper. “They will be an important tool in addressing racial injustice throughout Davidson County. Since campaigning for office, I have supported body-worn cameras in Nashville and the need to invest in this vital technology the right way. We are delivering on that commitment today, and we are doing it in a cost responsible way.”

Body-worn camera deployment will begin next month at West Precinct, Cooper said. Eighty-six body cameras and 65 patrol cars will be outfitted with cameras. Patrol cars will now have three cameras to provide multiple perspectives. Cooper said West Precinct is currently the only precinct with the IT infrastructure in place to support BWC and camera deployment.

Cooper has instructed Metro Police to complete IT infrastructure upgrades within the next six months.

"BWC deployment to other precincts will begin no later than February 2021," a news release said.

Monthly updates are expected to be released concerning developments with body cameras and IT development.

“This deployment will provide unprecedented clarity into how the police and residents interact,” said Mayor John Cooper. “I want to thank General Funk, Public Defender Johnson, and all of our criminal justice stakeholders for coming together around a plan that will make bodycams a success in Nashville. The wait for bodycams is over. Let me be clear: We are moving forward with full deployment as quickly as possible.”

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