Knoxville mayoral candidates discuss police body cameras

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Hours before Eddie Mannis and Indya Kincannon advanced in the Knoxville mayoral primary on Tuesday, community advocates were demanding police body cameras from the current Knoxvile mayor and Knoxville police chief.

The protesters filled the Knoxville City Council meeting after Channara Tom Pheap was killed the night before in an officer-involved shooting.

WATE 6 On Your Side asked Kincannon and Mannis what their stances were on the issue of police body cameras.

“I think that they can help protect the public from abuse by, you know, the rogue police officer, and it also, just as importantly protect police officers from false accusations,” Kincannon said.

“If we are filming that, then it really does protect (police) and if they’re not doing the right thing, then it shows us that they’re not doing the right thing,” Mannis said.

Both agreed the use of body cameras could be good for officers and the community.

Kincannon said it would be the easiest way to hold officers accountable.

The candidates said they would discuss the topic as soon as they took office, but the cameras wouldn’t be implemented right away.

Both had concerns about technology aspects.

“It’s not the issue buying the body cams. The money issue, I think, is for the storage and really holding all of that footage,” Mannis said.

He also noted that dash cameras on police vehicles currently do a good job viewing most of the scene, and acknowledged that they might not capture everything.

“Get into the specifics of what it would cost and how we could implement it and if we would do it with a pilot program of some kind…We need to also be very conscious about taking into account things like privacy concerns,” Kincannon said.

She said officers are involved in all kinds of calls, but they often result with no arrests.

Kincannon said she wouldn’t want body camera video of officers entering a home that didn’t end up with illegal activity to get in the wrong hands.

While Kincannon was a little more budget conscious, Mannis said money didn’t matter.

“We spend money in many different ways throughout the city and and if we can spend money to protect our citizens and to protect our KPD officers, I don’t know what amount of money I would say is too much if we could achieve both of those things,” Mannis said.

As far as requiring more training for officers, another demand from community advocates, both candidates said Knoxville police have some of the very best training in the state.

They also said though, that everyone could always use more training.

“I think we have an excellent program in KPD, in fact we’re the envy of many surrounding law enforcement agencies who often get pick and choose their officers and recruit them away from KPD,” Kincannon said.

“Crisis management, the de-escalation of that situation, there probably could never be enough training,” Mannis said.

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