Durham city leaders approve police body cameras

File photo

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham City Council on Tuesday evening approved the purchase of police body cameras for $1.4 million.

City leaders had been discussing the body camera issue for more than a year.

In 2015, Durham police held six listening forums to give residents a chance to talk with law enforcement about the department’s use of body cameras.

On Tuesday, city leaders approved the measure in a 5-2 vote, with Charlie Reece and Jillian Johnson opposing the plan.

Durham Police Chief Cerelyn Davis told council members that the policy is consistent with others around the country, and that those policies continue to evolve.

Reece and Johnson opposed the purchase, with both saying that a law recently passed by the North Carolina General Assembly makes it impossible for any type of transparency.

Reece noted that public funds were being used to institute a program where police can use these cameras to document what they do on a daily basis, but no citizens have the right to see any of the footage.

Johnson added that bystander video has proven to be a more effective way to hold officers accountable than the use of body cameras, especially since the officers can control when the body camera is on and when it is not.

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