DPS to get body cameras

Eastern Michigan University’s Department of Public Safety will be investing $17,000 in body cameras for police officers. The cameras will be used for officers “on foot patrol, bicycle patrol and other activity not occurring near or around a police vehicle.”

EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes said in a statement that the cameras would contribute to evidence collection, reduce incidents of overuse of police power and resolve complaints.

He did not respond to interview requests.

These pager-sized cameras will be a mandatory part of the uniform worn by 43 DPS officers by next semester.

“I think police cameras would go a long way not only for the safety of students, but police as well,” Student Government President Desmond Miller said.

Equipping officers with body cameras has been a hot topic of discussion since the events in Ferguson, Missouri sparked nationwide protests. It has been reported by msn.com that the Obama administration has asked Congress for $75 million in federal funds and proposes to deliver 50,000 cameras to police departments across the country.

The family of Michael Brown said it would be a “positive change” in the wake of their son's recent death.

Brown, a teenager, was killed by a Ferguson police officer.

Eric Garner, a New York man, was killed by a New York police officer who put him in a chokehold. The confrontation was caught on film and an indictment was denied, spurring more protests.

Some people around the country have been asking if the body cameras are actually effective. The Ypsilanti Police seem to think so.

The department will be getting 15 body cameras. City council approved this measure Tuesday as part of a $55,000 resolution to improve the department’s equipment.

EMU’s DPS is in the process of hiring ten new police officers. Seven of the new hires are already sworn in. Three officers were hired over the summer and four officers were sworn in this semester. The final thsree will begin working next semester.

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