Elkhart Police Department suspending use of body cams indefinitely

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(Sam Householder/Elkhart Truth)

A quarter of the Elkhart Police Department’s body cams are malfunctioning, and now, they’re going away until further notice.

That means the 80 body cameras the city bought in 2015 will be taken off patrol officers due to radio interference, faulty power cords and questionable battery life, according to the Elkhart Truth.

Officers received the body cams in Sept. 2016. Problems with the cameras took front stage on Dec. 4, when there was a police-action shooting involving two officers and 29-year-old Norman Gary. The body camera was not functional, which has led to protests and questions raised by some in the Elkhart community.

“After much consideration and discussion with Chief Windbigler, I have determined that it is in the best interest of all to temporarily suspend the use of body-worn cameras by the Elkhart Police Department,” Mayor Tim Neese said in a statement issued Monday morning. “This will eliminate any uncertainty when interaction occurs between the police and the public.”

The use of dash-mounted cameras will continue.

In the meantime, a quarter of the 80 body cameras have been sent back to the manufacturer, Digital Ally, for maintenance. The city will also look at alternate body cam manufacturers. The city vows to get the body cams back on patrol once the issues are remedied, according to a press release.

1 COMMENT

  1. Why is it hundreds of departments across the country use them with few incidents, yet EPD can’t figure them out?
    Answer: They create transparency….and a department without restraint doesn’t like that.
    There aren’t any problems with these devices that proper maintenance and manufacturer support cant fix. Go back to working in the shadows EPD, where the officer’s version is absolute and the citizenry can be victimized. For myself, a licensed professional… who has been subjected to actions that these cameras now cannot prevent, I will be recording any interaction with the EPD.

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