City releases findings from CMPD body camera audit

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police is starting to phase out its dashboard cameras on police cars, according to findings from the city’s recent body camera audit.

They said the widespread use of officer-worn body cameras has started to make dashcams obsolete.

In the audit, it also found CMPD is doing random monthly reviews of body camera footage to promote “officer accountability.” CMPD said supervisors are supposed to note any concerns found in the footage that officers can work on.

However, the audit found about two dozen supervisors didn’t find any concerns in the videos they reviewed. The city said the average percentage of concerns found is about 3%.

The audit said CMPD needs to consistently enforce its body camera policy. It said policy violations stem from inconsistent enforcement.

The audit also found, through interviews and a department-wide analysis, that officers were not consistently testing body camera features. Auditors randomly sampled 40 officers with June 2021 recordings and 10 officers were missing the test video.

“You have to be critical, so I think they need to be more critical on looking at the officers’ video and pointing out things that need to be done officers have to be willing to take a critique, too,” said Robert Dawkins, with Action NC.

The group has been fighting for police reform, including wider use of body cam technology.

Auditors didn’t get to see everything they wanted because body cam videos are not public record in North Carolina. So to get access, a judge must agree.

That is something Action NC is trying to change.

“We personally don’t believe we need a judge to get access to the video that we pay for, the officers that we pay to serve and protect the community,” Dawkins said. “But our hands are tied until we can get a General Assembly to vote.”

In response to the audit’s findings, CMPD said it will implement the necessary changes.

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