CMPD chief: All patrol officers should have body cams

In two months, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will start being trained on body-worn cameras.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In two months, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will start being trained on body-worn cameras. Chief Rodney Monroe told Charlotte City Council Monday night that by September, each of the department's 1,400 patrol officers should be wearing one.

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CMPD plans to spend more than $2 million this year to buy Taser Axon Flex body-worn cameras. It's the same brand the Los Angeles Police Department is using to equip its officers.

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"It's always about trust. It's always about efforts to build that trust and maintain that trust," Monroe said. 
Members of CMPD's top brass laid out for Charlotte City Council what times the camera has to be turned on, like traffic stops, arrests, use of force or frisking. Video will be uploaded and stored after every shift and an officer can't edit or delete it, but there are times the camera won't be used.
"Not every citizen would want these videos made public, and for the protection of an officer, they have that same right," Monroe said.
An officer can turn his camera off, but that officer has to state on camera when he is turning it off and why. The camera will not be recording when witness and victim interviews are being done or when the officer is part of a criminal investigation, according to the chief.
If an officer turns his camera off prematurely or without substantial reasoning, that officer could be disciplined.
The tapes will be reviewed at random but most video captured won't be made public unless the chief decides otherwise.
Anyone who files a complaint against an officer will get to see video of the incident reported.
Some taxpayers told Channel 9 they hope the cameras will offer more clarity during questions of police conduct.
"We would have good evidential footage that would show exactly what has transpired instead of a lot of hearsay," said Rich Reed.
Training on the cameras starts in March. It's expected to take until September for every officer to be wearing them.

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