West Memphis Police officers to wear body cameras

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The West Memphis City Council has effectively decided to have the city’s police officers wear body cameras.

In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the council approved the purchase of 25 cameras for $91,000. Captain Joel Johnson says that’s enough cameras to cover each on-duty shift.

“It’s going to be a swapping,” Johnson said, “That’ll be 12 units on-duty, and then 12 units that will be charging and uploading, and then one spare unit in case there’s a problem during a shift.”

City officials claim the cameras will protect officers and protect citizens if an officer violates policy while interacting with them.

“It’s great for accountability,” Johnson said.

Mayor Marco McClendon says the city plans on buying the units and making them operational in the coming months as officials work on a clear set of rules for the cameras.

“Making sure our officers turn them on when possible. Any time you come into contact with a citizen, I think you need to have those cameras on,” McClendon said. “We support our police department, and we love our citizens as well, and I think if we work together and build a trust between the two, then we can pretty much go through a crime free city.”

McClendon says the city looked into buying body cameras several years ago, but it was too expensive at that time.

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