Meridian police officers to start wearing body cameras

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - Police officers in Meridian will soon wear cameras right on their uniforms. City leaders approved more than $338,000 for the body cameras Tuesday night.

Cops will wear two devices, a battery pack and the camera itself. The officer presses a button to start recording traffic stops and other calls. Research indicates body cams help keep everyone on their best behavior.

"We feel by wearing these cameras, we can reduce use of forces in the field with our officers and the public," said Lt. Scott Colaianni of the Meridian Police Department. "We can reduce complaints, which is also a good thing."

Deputies in both Ada and Canyon counties already record on-the-job interactions. Nampa PD does the same; footage from 2012 shows why a police officer shot a dog.

The money approved by Meridian City Council covers 70 body cameras, plus storage space for the video and the licensing fees for five years.

"We truly believe that down the road, there will be some traction gained in prosecuting cases at a faster rate and maybe higher conviction rates because of what we capture on video," Colaianni said.

The department now has to come up with procedures, like when officers will record and how long video will be saved. The agency plans to share those policies online once they've been hashed out.

Officers are expected to start wearing the body cameras in early May.
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