PARC director calls body cameras a ‘positive’ after Knoxville mayor’s announcement

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — We’re hearing from the Executive Director of Knoxville’s Police Advisory and Review Committee, or PARC, about the push to equip city officers with body cameras.

It comes just 2 days after Mayor Indya Kincannon told city council she is committed to providing KPD officers with the body-worn devices.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel attended PARC’s meeting Thursday night and spoke to executive director Clarence Vaughn. He said the move is a big positive and will help both officers and citizens.

“I think it’s going to help officers tell their story more. I think it’s a great tool to make sure that you see what takes place,” said Vaughn.

Mayor Kincannon recently announced her commitment to outfitting officers with body cams, aiming to roll them out by summertime. It’s good news to Vaughn.

“It’s really going to aid the officers, as well the one’s that are doing correct when they’re doing engagement with the community, it’s going to showcase what they deal with every day, and as citizens we have more of an involvement but also more transparent about what officers do in their daily duties,” he said.

Not only that, Vaughn said it will also help in the committee’s own investigations into citizen complaints.

“Now with body-worn cameras, we can at least see the interaction and see something as far as maybe helping us or aid us in our review of any complaints or concerns that come forth,” he said. “Probably about 60 percent of our cases and complaints are resolved by using audio and video as the bearing factor to make sure that we have the right information. So, that is going to be very, very helpful and monumental in what we do and what I do on a daily basis in reviewing complaints.”

Knox County District Attorney Charme Allen said she also sees the move as another tool for law enforcement to use during investigations.

Mayor Kincannon hopes to roll out the body cams by July 1, 2020. She’s seeking a contract with a qualified vendor and planning to incoroporate the cost into next year’s budget.

The initial cost will be around $1.7 million the first year. But after the initial investment, it will be $600,000 to maintain each year after.

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