Phoenix City Council OKs body-cam plan for police officers

PHOENIX – It wasn’t unanimous, but Phoenix City Council members passed a $1.2B budget for fiscal year 2016-17 by a vote of 6-3. The budget includes a surplus of approximately $60 million in one-time and ongoing resources. 

Those in support said this budget does a good job of enhancing public safety and restoring some service cuts to the arts, libraries and environmental programs.

Included in this budget was funding for a $5 million police body camera program to be implemented over the next five years.  

Dissenters questioned whether the city should pay for more equipment for the Phoenix Police Department or hire more officers, or provide better pay.  Members of the community rose in support of the expenditure as a means to bolster trust among minorities and protect the rights of officers, as well as the public.

The City Manager, Ed Zuercher, said the program would use $600,000 to make the initial purchase of about 2,000 cameras and hire the personnel to manage and process the video.  An additional $4.8 million would be spread out over the remaining 2 to 5 years.    

The Phoenix Police Department has been testing 140 cameras over the past year in certain parts of the city. Funding the bodycam program would expand the reach to officers citywide.

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