Metro Nashville Police officers to wear body cameras during pilot program

Mayor John Cooper speaks at his inauguration event Sept. 28 at Stratford STEM Magnet High School. Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper
Mayor John Cooper speaks at his inauguration event Sept. 28 at Stratford STEM Magnet High School. Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper

Mayor John Cooper speaks at his inauguration event Sept. 28 at Stratford STEM Magnet High School. Dylan Skye Aycock/Community Impact Newspaper

Mayor John Cooper announced Dec. 10 his plan to begin testing body-worn cameras on a small group of Metro Nashville Police officers in the spring.

“Nashville’s residents and police officers have been anxiously waiting for body-worn cameras since the initial announcement three years ago,” Cooper said in a news release. “I understand and share the community’s frustration over the wait. Basic questions about how video will be used and shared hadn’t been addressed. In my first two and a half months in office, I’ve made sure that we continue to move forward with body-worn cameras as quickly and responsibly as possible.”

According to Cooper’s plan, city agencies will need to finalize policies for determining how footage captured by body-worn cameras would be shared with district attorneys, public defenders, courts and the public. The cost of implementing cameras department-wide is also a factor, Cooper said.

A report commissioned by District Attorney Glenn Funk released last week estimated that the complete deployment of body-worn cameras would cost Metro Nashville more than $36 million per year, according to Cooper.

“Thanks to the hard work of personnel across Metro, we now have a roadmap for implementing cameras,” Cooper said. “I’m excited that we can now move from talking about cameras to deploying them.”


According to Cooper’s timeline, the Mayor’s Office will meet with the city’s criminal justice advisory board later this week to discuss remaining policy issues.

In January, experts who have worked with the U.S. Department of Justice will advise the Mayor’s Office on an implementation plan for Metro Nashville. City officials will also host a community meeting to discuss policy options with residents, according to the release.

Following the implementation of supporting infrastructure at the city’s eight police precincts in March, the MNPD will issue “approximately two dozen” body-worn cameras to DUI and traffic enforcement offers to test the new network, Cooper said. In May, the department is expected to deploy an additional 20 cameras for a three-to-six month pilot period.

A timeline for implementing a complete deployment of body-worn cameras has not been announced.

“It’s important that we get this done, and it’s important that we get it right,” Cooper said. “This plan puts cameras in the field as soon as the infrastructure is there to support them and allows us to learn what works in the process.”
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