Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong announced that 500 officers will soon begin wearing body cameras.
The announcement came at a press conference at the MPD's Real Time Crime Center. Armstrong said that 50 officers are being trained with the cameras each day, and by early October, 500 officers will be using the cameras. By the end of the year, they should have 2,000 cameras deployed and operational. Every officer will have a camera assigned to him or her, Armstrong said.
The body cameras have been discussed for quite some time, but Mayor A C Wharton, who spoke at the conference, said the city was on target with its goal of outfitting officers with cameras.
"In spite of the fact that we've had some of the roughest periods, especially with loss of Officer Bolton, there have been quite a few questions about whether we have fallen behind," Wharton said.
But he maintains the process is on-track. He said it simply takes awhile to get the technology up and running.
"This is not simply about placing a gadget on the lapel of each officer. It's much more than that, with all the aspects of technology," Wharton said.
Armstrong also said that in-car video has been installed in five squad cars, and four more cars will have cameras by October 1st. He said there will be cameras in more than 400 vehicles by January 2016.
Wharton pointed out that crime in Memphis is on the decrease with major violent crimes down 20 percent from 2006, when the county's Operation Safe Community initiative was launched.