UPDATE: City council members unanimously approved a vendor for body cams to be worn by Chattanooga police officers.
Council members gave the green light for the police department to enter a 5-year contract with Taser International.
The company will receive more than $2.1 million for its services during the 5-year period.
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PREVIOUS STORY: Crime scene tape around trees on Mission Avenue remind everyone this is the place where a man shot a Chattanooga police officer three times.
With that man still on the run, it's unclear whether body cameras would have made a difference.
Chief Fred Fletcher and his team have spent more than two years researching body cameras, ways to store their data and how to utilize both.
"Not having a bunch of wires and additional batteries to have to put on every time you go on a shift, durability, battery life, battery length, ease of use," he said, "We were able to take the best practices from a number of early adopters and combine them in one comprehensive and sophisticated policy."
Fletcher says data storage is key. Without the service, the police department would have to do it itself.
That would require hiring database administrators, buying hardware and footing the bill for software and when that capacity is full, they would have to add more.
"With a contract like this that we are proposing today, all those risks are all born by the vendor and we pay a known contractive fee," Fletcher said.
The proposed five-year contract with Taser International comes with body cameras for every officer and an unlimited place to store the data online.
City Council signed off on the $2.1 million project earlier this year.
Fletcher says while body cameras are a great tool to have, they don't replace face to face relationships in the community.
"It's important that our community members know that while this is great technology and it really enhances our ability to capture evidence particularly visual evidence. It's not a fool proof system," he said.
If the contract is approved, the cameras are expected to be operational by the end of March.
Before they can be used, Fletcher says the city's policy would have to be approved by council members. That is in the works as well.
Saturday, January 20 2018 8:07 AM EST2018-01-20 13:07:44 GMT
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