- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two central Arkansas police departments are looking into equipping officers with wearable cameras to record their interactions with the public.

Earlier this month, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner formed a six-person committee to study how other police departments, including Phoenix, Seattle, Fort Worth, New Orleans and Louisville, Kentucky, established their body camera program. Little Rock, the largest police department in Arkansas with 193 patrol officers, is researching camera models, usage policies, testing and data storage. It’s a process that’s expected to last one year.

Capt. Alice Fulk, who leads the committee, said the group will present their research to the Little Rock Board of Directors for possible funding to purchase the technology in the city’s 2016 budget. The price of the cameras ranges from several hundred dollars to nearly $2,000 each.

The North Little Rock Police Department is also considering purchasing body cameras for its officers, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1xvvv3W ) reported. Two patrol officers have been wearing the lightweight devices each week of October as part of a monthlong trial. Three years ago, the department tested the technology, but found it wasn’t affordable at the time.

Capt. Jay Kovach said the two officers have been recording, “every contact we have with the public, whether it be a traffic stop, vehicle accident, call for service or whatever the case may be.”

The move by both police departments follows the August fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. Companies that make the devices, including Taser and Prima Facie, have reported an increase in sales since Brown’s death.

Other Arkansas law enforcement agencies in recent years already have equipped some officers with body cameras. They are in Jonesboro, Jacksonville, Ward, Beebe, Glenwood and Austin.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com


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