Metro Nashville pushes ahead with police body-cam rollout in spite of extreme budget problems

Jun 9, 2020

Credit Motorola

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Metro Nashville Police will begin adoption of body worn cameras in July, in spite of the city’s extreme budget problems.

Mayor John Cooper announced Monday roll out will begin with 86 officers in West Precinct. Officials say the cameras will be in use by the department’s entire 1300 member force within six months. Cameras are also being added to more than 700 Metro patrol cars.

The initiative was all but abandoned late last year when estimates suggested the cameras would cost Nashville $40 million a year and require 200 new employees.

Police officials say after consulting with federal experts estimates were reduced to $2 million and just 16 new workers. Equipment supplier Motorola is allowing Nashville to put off paying for the cameras for two years.

The rollout announcement comes as the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd while in police custody last month inspired thousands of Nashville residents to turn out for public demonstrations in support of police reforms.

Metro Council Member Sharon Hurt, who heads the council’s Black Caucus, thanked Mayor Cooper for his “commitment to create tangible change for our Black community.”  Hurt went on to say ““An encounter with law enforcement is not something that any Nashvillian should worry about having to survive.”