IMPD begins body worn camera installations

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Aliya Wishner
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IMPD begins body worn camera installations 

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) began the process to equip 1,100 officers with Utility, Inc.’s BodyWorn™ camera technology,  representing the start of the first permanent body-worn camera program for IMPD. The program follows a stakeholder-driven body-worn camera feasibility study in 2019, as well as an investment of $1.2 million dedicated last fall by Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City County Council to fund the program’s rollout. 

“Last week, IMPD rolled out new use of force policies designed to provide more clear expectations for our officers and foster safer interactions with our residents. And a week before that, we prohibited dangerous no-knock warrants on this department. A body worn camera program is no cure-all, but it is certainly an important part of our continued efforts to better protect and serve the Indianapolis community,” said Chief Randal Taylor. 

Officers must have their cameras on for every citizen interaction, except for in specific sensitive situations where requested by the citizen for their privacy. While officers will announce that they are recording when it is feasible, residents should assume any interaction they have with officers is being recorded. Officers will not be able to tamper with recordings. If an officer fails to activate their camera or the technology fails during a  citizen interaction, they must notify a supervisor and create a report to be investigated by the Body-Worn Camera Administrator for departmental compliance. IMPD’s full Standard  Operating Procedure for body-worn cameras can be found on

“While this body-worn camera program is only one part of a larger effort to improve trust between our community and IMPD, today is a win for all those who seek a better police-community relationship,” said Mayor Hogsett. “I want every resident in our city to have the same trust in law enforcement that I do, and I want our IMPD officers to feel they are supported in what is very often a dangerous job. Today brings us one step closer to that  vision.” 

After a member of the BodyWorn Camera Unit redacts such sensitive visuals as personal information, nudity, and the faces of victims, witnesses, and juveniles, releasable videos can be available to the public through the submission of a public records request. Recordings will be kept for a state-mandated minimum of 190 days, or as long as they are necessary for legal, administrative, or civil proceedings. 

“Residents of our city have been calling for measures like body worn cameras for some time, and the Council is listening,” said City-County Council President Vop Osili. “Together  with the administration and IMPD, we are working to elevate the ‘public’ voice in public  safety and move toward an Indianapolis where all residents feel safe, welcomed, and  valued.” 

Utility, Inc.’s BodyWorn™ camera technology utilizes artificial intelligence to create situational awareness and offers features like a two-minute buffer, which allows for two minutes of video from before the camera is turned on to be saved in each recording, as well as several automatic recording triggers designed to remove the burden to turn on the camera from the officer. These triggers will turn the camera on anytime the officer: 

• is within 500 feet of a dispatched run, activated by computer-aided dispatch calls for  service 

• draws their handgun from its holster 

• begins to run 

• engages in jostled movement, such as during a fight 

• activates lights and/or sirens in the car 

• unlocks the shotgun rack 

• lies flat for 10 seconds – this feature, known as Officer Down, notifies all cars on the  district that an officer is in need of immediate assistance 

“We’re proud to serve as a strategic partner of the IMPD as they further their commitment  to strengthening their relationship with the Indianapolis community,” said Michael Nark,  President and CEO of Utility, Inc. “Our goal is to, ‘never ask an officer to do something that  technology can do for them,’ and the implementation of the BodyWorn technology allows  the IMPD officers to do just that, providing them a smart, automated solution so they can  maintain focus on those they serve.” 

The 5.5-year, $9.2 million contract with Utility, Inc. outlines the equipping of 1,100 officers with BodyWorn™ cameras, which are worn under the officers’ uniform to prevent the camera from falling off. These 1,100 officers are in IMPD’s Operations Division, and will include beat officers, street supervisors, and specialty units. Officers on IMPD’s East  District, the busiest district in the city, are the first to receive the cameras. The goal is to equip 10 officers per day. 

“I’m encouraged by the progress we have accomplished so far. While I think we all know that having video alone does not ensure justice or fair treatment, I do believe this is a small step towards transparency that is long overdue,” said Samantha Douglas of the Far Eastside  Community Council, who was part of a stakeholder group which provided feedback to help  IMPD develop body worn camera policies that best serve the community. 

Last year, IMPD conducted its second pilot program to guide implementation of body worn cameras on the department. In the five years since a 2014 pilot did not result in the development of a permanent program, vendor offerings had increased, the City had invested millions of dollars in upgrading public safety technology infrastructure, and body  worn camera products had advanced, significantly driving down costs. The second, larger pilot was stakeholder-driven and included a community-facing survey administered by  IUPUI, a series of in-person community meetings, and a technology trial on the busiest shift on the largest IMPD districts.