Raleigh city councilman explains approval of body camera plan for police
Less than a month after a police shooting in Southeast Raleigh, city leaders are moving to bring transparency to police actions and criminal activity.
A proposal by police chief Cassandra Deck-Brown to buy and use body-worn cameras for 600 officers during the next three years won unanimous approval from the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday.
The move comes less than a month after a police officer shot and killed a young suspect in Southeast Raleigh, sparking criticism and nationwide attention.
Police say Senior Officer D.C. Twiddy shot and killed 24-year-old Akiel Denkins because he felt endangered during a physical confrontation. But some residents say they believe Twiddy shot Denkins from behind as he was running away.
Deck-Brown was scheduled to present her proposal to the City Council on Feb. 29 but postponed it after the shooting happened that day.
Council members didn’t debate the proposal or specifically mention the shooting before voting on it. Several thanked Deck-Brown for her leadership and echoed her support for the cameras.
“We are the capital city. You are right: We lead, we do not follow,” said Councilman Corey Branch, who represents Southeast Raleigh.
Council members said they’ll develop policies for the cameras and the recordings at a later date. The council instructed city staff to solicit offers for camera and video storage equipment and management.
Deck-Brown estimates her plan will cost an estimated $1.25 million for the first year and $5.2 million over five years. The most expensive part is storage of the video, she said.
But the cost is merited, Deck-Brown said. Residents have asked Raleigh police to adopt the technology during community meetings, she said.
“It has come up in many of my meetings. The citizens have asked repeatedly,” Deck-Brown said. “Now is the time.”