SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - Southaven aldermen seemed to have their minds made up. The proposal to test body cameras for police passed unanimously with no discussion Tuesday night.
“We’re real excited about getting it started," said Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore.
Moore has wanted body cameras on his officers and cameras in patrol cars since he took office last summer. Right now there are none.
“The accountability for both my officers and the public and also for evidentiary purposes. Juries now in this day and age expect to see video," he said.
Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite said the goal is to eventually have body cameras for all officers. Chief Moore wants 100 of the 125 Southaven officers to have body cameras. Mayor Musselwhite said the cameras will protect police from “ridiculously false accusations that are commonplace in our society now.”
Body cameras would likely have been useful in the death of Ismael Lopez.
In 2017 three offices went to his house around midnight. It was the wrong house. They should have been at a house across the street. Lopez was shot in the back of the head inside his home. The officers said Lopez pointed a rifle at them. The DA decided not to file charges against the officers.
Southaven is looking at three companies for body cams. The first company, Axon, will provide six body cameras and two cameras for patrol cars around Jan. 20. Two other companies will also provide cameras for Southaven to look at.
“We’re looking at a lease deal so something comes out new, we’re not stuck with something we’ve purchased. We can upgrade to the latest and greatest equipment," said Moore.
Southaven will be the first department to get body cameras for police officers and patrol cars in Desoto County.
The Southaven chief says he hopes to have a decision by the end of the summer and possibly have those body cameras in operation by then.