Raleigh holding meetings for feedback on police body cams

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh police began a six-week series of meetings throughout the city to get feedback as they prepare to outfit their officers with body-worn cameras.

The city will negotiate a contract with WatchGuard Video.

The initial cost is estimated at $3.65 million, with $900,000 in recurring annual costs once the cameras all have been purchased.

Raleigh police anticipate the first 200 out of 600 total cameras will be utilized next year.

“Body cameras are definitely a move in the right direction as far as transparency,” said Richard Hubbard, who lives in Raleigh.

Police attended the South, Central and Southwest Citizen Advisory Councils Monday to explain the process for rolling out the cameras, how they’ll be utilized and how video will be maintained.

Under state law, the video is not public record. The police chief can allow someone who is recorded in a video to view it.

But, releasing video to the public requires a court order.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said she believed the state law was an effort to account for victims’ rights.

“You know, it may be a domestic violence or sexual assault, and people that are victims in those cases have rights to privacy,” she said.

But, some Raleigh residents questioned whether the state law undermines the transparency the cameras could provide.

Caroline Brown asked, “You’re making me jump through hoops to get it. So, therefore, do I really want it? Am I going to pursue it?”

Les Stewart said, “I think there’s always going to be challenges as we embrace a new technology that becomes available. Ultimately, this is a technology that does improve transparency.”

To see when police will be in your neighborhood seeking feedback about the issue, click here.

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