Little Rock Board of Directors authorize purchase of police body cameras

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock City Board of Directors voted to authorize the purchase of body cameras for LRPD officers on Tuesday.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said “It’s the right thing to do right now,” as protests still are ongoing throughout the nation and on a local level.

The projected cost of the cameras is about $760,000, but the board says that number will be updated soon.

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“It’s something we’ve been working on for three years with funding from the federal government,” City Director Lance Hines said.

Hines believes the approval of body cameras is long overdue.

“I wish we had done it last month, but better late than never getting it done this month,” Hines said.

The Board of Directors held off on approving it last month because of budget concerns surrounding COVID-19. But a federal grant from the US Department of Justice is helping to fund the program.

“Somewhere around $195,000 in addition to city dollars,” Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said.

The cameras are coming from WatchGuard Video Inc, the same company the Little Rock Police Department is already using for cameras inside of its cars. Mayor Frank Scott Jr. says he included the purchase of these cameras in his 2020 budget.

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“We were even able to negotiate an additional 25 cameras for free,” Mayor Scott said.

The city does not have to start paying for the cameras until 2021. City Director Hines said these cameras could be passed out to officers in the next two to three weeks.