Community

A new program that will equip the Jeffersonville Police Department (JPD) with body cameras has been approved by city officials.

The 5-year plan will buy 75 cameras for the department at a cost of $522,000. Members of the Jeffersonville City Council unanimously approved a first installment payment of $167,300 at Monday’s meeting.

Assistant Chief Michael McVoy told WFPL in an interview earlier this month that the new plan will give the 91-officer department more cameras to work with than previous programs.

“We’ll outfit more officers,” McVoy said. “Our entire patrol division will be outfitted with cameras, including some supervisor levels.”

McVoy said JPD started a body camera program in 2015, but had to scrap it in the wake of a 2016 state law that required more sophisticated editing software and increased storage capacities. Since then, the department has participated in various pilot programs to test different companies’ offerings.

The enactment of the new program coincides with the police killings of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee in Louisville and of Malcolm Williams by an Indiana State Trooper in Jeffersonville. No body camera footage of any of those shootings has been made available, since officers either failed to activate or were not wearing the equipment.

While McVoy said while the timing of JPD’s body cam program is coincidental, having it in place will benefit both the community and the police force.

“It’s a long process,” he said. “When you talk about body cams and footage, you want to make sure that you get right for everyone that’s involved. Not just on the law enforcement side, but for the general public as well. And I think we’ve paid very close attention to making sure that we’ve laid out the path and we’re following all the details.”

Council president Matt Owen said the $522,000 to be used for the full five years of the program will come out of a capital improvement fund set aside for IT advancements.

John Boyle covers southern Indiana communities and health for WFPL News. He is a Report for America Corps member.