It's been almost two years since the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department began equipping officers with body-worn cameras. Monday night, Charlotte City Council members could vote to more than double the number of body cams available for use by CMPD.
Council initially approved spending about $7 million to purchase, operate and maintain up to 1,400 cameras. So far, CMPD has issued body cams mostly to patrol officers and those working in the department's K9, DWI , and Airport units.
An amendment on the City Council agenda for Monday night's meeting would provide funding for the purchase of another 1,800 body-worn cameras from Taser International. The expansion would give CMPD a total of 3,200 cameras, allowing the department to issue body cams to its tactical units, including the SWAT team and the CMPD's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team, or VCAT.
The City says expanding the number of cameras would increase police department transparency. CMPD officer Brentley Vinson was not wearing a body camera when he fatally shot Keith Scott last September. The additional cameras would also be worn by officers staffing special events, and those working second jobs.
Charlotte would spend about $679,000 in public money for the new body cams and related licensing, software and maintenance expenses. Another $200,000 for the additional cameras would come through a donation from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation.