After wearing them for a few months as part of a pilot program, the Baton Rouge Police Department is scrapping its L-3 body cameras and replacing them with body cameras from TASER.
BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie told the Metro Council on Wednesday that officers were having trouble keeping the L-3 body cameras on their uniforms and that they had some technical glitches. The 100 officers participating in the body camera pilot program will be re-outfitted with the TASER variety come February 1.
State Rep. and former councilwoman Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, said BRPD does not have the money to buy the cameras and data storage for all of its 400 uniform patrol officers yet. But she said TASER gave BRPD the batch of 100 cameras for free to test out.
In switching cameras, new conversations and debates have arisen about video storage. The TASER body cameras use a cloud-based storage system, where videos are automatically uploaded to a virtual space rather than downloaded to a computer server.
Dabadie said it’s opened up questions about officers being able to access and edit their videos, and the controls placed on the footage once it’s in the cloud.
A body camera committee that Marcelle leads has already grappled with questions about officers accessing their own videos. They have also considered how to treat body camera footage in the scope of Louisiana’s public records laws.
“We’ve had some lively conversations about whether officers should view videos prior to writing reports,” Dabadie told the council.
TASER also outfits the New Orleans Police Department with their body cameras. NOPD has $2.7 million budgeted over five years for 620 cameras and the software that goes with them.