800 body cameras now on patrol with MPD officers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

800 body cameras now on patrol with MPD officers

(Source: WMC Action News 5 archives) (Source: WMC Action News 5 archives)

Memphis Police Department now has more than 800 body cameras up and recording with officers in the field.

MPD said all precincts, except Appling Farms, now have body cameras. By November 15, the department expects to have all body cameras up and running.

In addition, the department received a new generation of cameras that capture more video. The new cameras have a 143 degree field of vision as opposed to the typical 75 degree field of vision the older cameras have.

The newest cameras have a stronger magnet, which will help the camera stay in place and not fall while the officer is moving. These cameras were free of charge, thanks to the existing contract MPD had with the body camera manufacturer.

A consultant for the MPD body camera rollout said there is also one other major difference now that the cameras are being worn.

"The public tends to be nicer. The officers tend to be nicer," MPD body camera consultant Jim Harvey said. 

He said that is the difference MPD officers have seen since they started wearing the body cameras. Harvey recently retired from MPD, but is now consulting for the department on the body camera rollout.

"I just think it's gonna be good for everybody," Harvey said.

Harvey said it is an upgrade to the next generation of body cameras.

"A camera that's worn through the pocket of the shirt, as opposed to worn on a pair of glasses or on a collar," he said.

"So, nearly doubles the size of what we can capture," Memphis City Councilman Worth Morgan said.

In addition, these cameras are also more sturdy. But, Morgan said the best part of it is the price.

"You know, most important, we got them for free," Morgan said. "So, this was a good upgrade."

Overall, both men said we're much closer to what everybody wants.

"I think the officers will feel more secure having those body cameras on them, and I think the public will as well," Harvey said.

Memphis Police Department hired 10 part-time video analysts to go through the thousands of videos coming from the cameras, but two of those analysts resigned. MPD is currently hiring 10 more full-time analysts.

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