MPD body camera testing to expand in April

MPD body camera testing to expand in April

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis police body cameras could hit the streets of Memphis next month.

Tuesday, MPD told city council that the next step in the process starts next week.

Interim Police Director Mike Rallings told the council they are making progress on getting the body cameras on the streets, but he also said the cameras will not solve the out-of-control crime.

"Here's what we've got to remember about cameras: Cameras are great, but right now, I need boots on the ground," Rallings said. "You know, a camera cannot make an arrest."

Rallings said MPD is looking to hire video analysts within the next few weeks. That will mark the first step to expanding the testing for body cameras.

"The target is to have them on staff early in April so we can launch our pilot," he said.

However, Rallings said launching body cameras is only one piece of the crime puzzle.

"At the same time, we still have a busy city with a lot going on," he said. "And I think we really need to have our priorities focused. And right now, you know, boots on the ground is what our number one priority is."

With 52 homicides so far in 2016, Rallings said homicide detectives are rarely making it home to see their families as they work to get things under control.

"Here's the good news: You think about all the homicides. And I think to date 36, if I'm not mistaken, 36 of those have been solved."

Still, that is not enough to make the interim director happy.

And while the body cams may be taking longer than people would like, Rallings has faith in the steps they are taking.

"These are the proper steps. We're going to stay the course and do it the right way."

MPD will start interviewing candidates for the video analyst jobs within a few weeks. The body camera testing is expected to expand in April.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.