CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is using a new tool to increase officers’ accountability.
Officials said 1,100 CMPD patrol officers have monitors on their holsters that automatically turn on their body cameras if they draw their guns.
The addition is one of the latest efforts to increase the public’s trust.
CMPD Deputy Chief Estella Patterson said, in some cases, the technology will do that, including cameras of other officers within 100 feet.
“Any time an officer draws his or her weapon, a sensor activates a body warn camera,” Patterson said.
In general, police officers have to manually turn the camera on when they interact with people.
“When you don’t have that camera, a lot of questions come up,” Patterson said.
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A CMPD sergeant is being disciplined because he turned off his body camera during an incident at a protest on June 2.
Anchor Alison Latos asked Patterson, “So, how do you make sure that officers don’t do that?”
“That is a challenge for us,” Patterson said. “As an agency, we hold our people to that.”
The added equipment comes as CMPD works with a nationwide campaign pushing for use of force police reform called 8 Can’t Wait.
Criminal defense attorney Tim Emry said the department’s policy updates don’t go far enough to protect citizens, including his clients.
“I am more interested in things that will address the underlying causes of crime, which are inequal opportunities, systemic poverty, inadequate education opportunities, inadequate employment opportunities,” Emry said.
There are two issues CMPD and the 8 Can’t Wait campaign have not been able to agree on yet, which is a policy that requires exhausting all alternatives before shooting, and a ban on shooting at moving vehicles.
CMPD adopted 8 Can’t Wait after days of protesting in uptown following the death of George Floyd.
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