By: JIM IRIZARRY
Add the Indiana University Police Department to the growing list of police agencies and universities that use body camera technology. IUPD announced that it would begin implementing the technology later this year at the Bloomington campus as well as IUPUI.
The move comes after a year of research and discussion by IU public safety staff that included students, faculty, staff and recommendations from faculty researchers and other privacy and safety experts. Over the course of the evaluation, the committee and public safety staff addressed the same issues facing law enforcement agencies nationwide: the challenges of balancing privacy, transparency, usefulness and the substantial ongoing costs associated with the use of body worn cameras.
“We are immensely grateful for the committee’s work and insights on such a complicated issue,” said Bob True, interim superintendent of public safety at IU and police chief at IUPD Indianapolis in a press release. “We also appreciate that body-worn cameras are just a tool. They supplement other, even more important efforts to foster greater community engagement toward and positive relationships between IUPD officers and the communities they serve.”
When could we see body cams used at IUSB? Police Chief Kurt Matz doesn’t have an exact timeline as to when they will be implemented, but knows that the technology will come to IUSB.
“They’re rolling it out to the bigger campuses first and it will work its way to us,” Matz said in an interview. “It’s something police departments all over the country are looking at. The technology is still very new and there are still a lot of technological issues to be dealt with. I do think it is technology that is very good for police departments.”
Locally, the South Bend Police Department is currently field testing the technology. The use of body cameras at IU will be assessed annually, with a comprehensive review coming after five years.
“IU South Bend is awaiting its turn within the Indiana University system to begin the use of police body-cams,” said Ken Baierl, chief of staff of the Office of the Chancellor and IUSB’s director of communications and marketing, in a statement. “We look forward to adding a new tool that will supplement the other efforts by campus police to keep students, faculty, staff and visitors safe.”