Mayor Tom Henry and Police Chief Steve Reed announced Feb. 19 the city administration will request the purchase of additional body cameras for Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) officers.

For the 2021 budget, 100 body cameras were approved at a cost of $316,560. Now, Henry and the FWPD want to buy an additional 220 body cameras for a total of 320. Of the $999,073 total for 320 body cameras, $83,098 will be paid for with a grant received by the FWPD.

The city is in position to receive a significant discount on the purchase price and use grant funds. Not all of the body cameras will be placed into service immediately as it will take time for the backbone of the system to be put into place, and the body cameras will be phased in over time.

The request will be introduced at the City Council meeting on Feb. 23, with possible discussion and preliminary approval on March 2 and possible final passage on March 9.

“This is an important next step in our efforts to provide the best public safety services possible,” Henry said. “Open communication, accessibility, community relations and trust are critical as our officers serve and protect residents and businesses each day.”

“The men and women of the FWPD are committed to meeting the safety needs of the public,” Reed said. “We’re looking forward to working with City Council to bring more body cameras to our department as a way to utilize technology and proactively provide enhanced services.”

Several body cameras have been used by the FWPD in the past and are still in use. The purchase of additional body cameras is a subject that’s been part of the discussions led by the Mayor’s Commission on Police Reform and Racial Justice.

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