Almost one month to the day that body cameras were suspended in the Elkhart Police Department, they’re making a comeback.
Mayor Tim Neese announced Tuesday that the department is getting 80 new, up-to-date body cameras.
“Body-worn cameras are an invaluable tool that protects both our law enforcement officials and the public,” Mayor Neese said. “I appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the manufacturer, and I look forward to seeing these cameras back on the streets.”
The process of programming and distributing the new cameras begins Tuesday. Cameras will be assigned to specific officers by the end of the month.
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.