City of Elkhart comes to agreement for new, updated body cameras

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(Sam Householder/Elkhart Truth)

The body cams are returning to the Elkhart Police Department‘s officers.

Pending approval by the Board of Works, the department will get 80 “generation four” cameras, which is the newest model available from Digital Ally, according to a press release.

“Body-worn cameras are an invaluable tool that protects both our law enforcement officials and the public,” Mayor Tim Neese said in a statement. “I appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the manufacturer, and I look forward to seeing these cameras back on the streets.”

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.

Mayor Neese suspended use of the body cams on Jan. 9 due to “the unreliability of the product.” The cameras suffered from technical problems, including radio interference, power camera connectivity, and battery life, affording to a press release.

City officials met with Digital Ally to discuss the concerns. In the end, the company agreed to replace the defective cameras with the latest models at no additional cost. Both the company and city feel the new cameras are more reliable than the previous models.

The new agreement will be discussed before the Board of Works on Tuesday, Feb. 7. If approved, the cameras would be deployed immediately.

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