The Push for Chattanooga Police Body Cameras

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Officers say if all the police at the tragic scene Saturday were equipped with body cams, the debate over how events unfolded wouldn’t be questioned, one way or the other.

"The truth doesn’t choose sides and what we’re after is the truth," said Councilman Chip Henderson.

Sometimes cell phone video from bystanders offers little help.

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Even dash cams can be too distant and leave holes in investigation.

Chattanooga City Council approved the budget for police body cams months ago and after Saturday’s deadly police shooting, officials say the need for body cameras is becoming urgent.

"You would have multiple captures of multiple angles of that incident so that would be an incredible benefit to the investigators and to be able to release that to our community so they could see what the cameras captured," said Deputy Chief David Roddy.

But even with an approved budget, officers say it is much more complex than just snapping a camera on a uniform.

"It’s no longer just buying cameras," Roddy said. "It’s more of a digital evidence program."

Officers say the process of saving the thousands of hours of footage logged by police is complicated.

And the constant recording of the camera skirts privacy issues when police enter homes or schools.

To address privacy, the Chattanooga police are consulting with the ACLU.

But officers say the desire to be transparent with the public is across the board and the support for body cams, which are just on the horizon for Chattanooga, is unanimous.

"It is an objective capture of what happened between our officers and members of this community and anything that gives that objective capture, we are completely in favor of."

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