It will be the end of next year before all Atlanta police officers have body cameras.
Field officers in Zone 4 of the Atlanta Police Department, which is in the Cascade area of southwest Atlanta, are the first in the department to be equipped with body cameras. Officers have trained on how to use the cameras and have been wearing them for the past month.
Chief George Turner admits outfitting the officers was long overdue.
“The city of Atlanta police department was really on the forefront of body camera deployment and we began looking at this some two plus years ago,” Turner said. “Because of a series of setbacks, we find ourselves today at a full deployment in this particular precinct of body cameras.”
The department’s original pilot program was stopped last year because of a lawsuit filed by Utility Associates, Inc., a DeKalb vendor who specializes in building police body cameras. The vendor claimed the bidding process for the cameras wasn’t open to everyone.
But a Fulton County judge dismissed the case this past June, paving the way for the APD to move forward.
Footage is stored for a certain amount of time depending on the crime. For example, a traffic violation caught on camera will be stored for 180 days while an arrest will be on file for five years. Video can be obtained with an open records request.
Body cameras are expected to be deployed in zones one and six by January.