PHOENIX (3TV/ CBS 5) - The Phoenix police officers in the now-viral video of a confrontation after a 4-year-old allegedly took a doll from a store were not wearing body cameras. Today the department announced they’re speeding up the process of getting the cameras issued to officers.
“The good news is we can turn around and help out Phoenix or any other city as quickly as they want to go,” said Steve Tuttle, the VP of Communications at AXON, the company that makes the cameras. “Now the challenge is how quickly can they train up their own officers.”
So far, 618 cameras have been issued. Phoenix police ordered 2,000 body cameras from a Scottsdale-based AXON in February.
“By having 2000 cameras out on the street, we’re able to show the exchange of what our officers do well, what our community members do well, and when things don’t go well we will address those,” Chief Jeri Williams said in February.
Tuttle says that order has already been filled, but it does take time for an agency to get cameras assigned to officers.
“What people have to keep in mind is it’s not just a matter of taking them off the shelf, sticking them on the officers and then just plug and go,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that have to take place.”
Officers have to be trained on how to use the camera, and how to upload video to the back-end server evidence.com. AXON says agencies usually don’t want to take more than six to ten officers off of patrol at once for two to four hours to train.
Tuttle says that by issuing more than 600 cameras in just four months, Phoenix PD is faster than most major cities. Some other cities take more than a year.
“Keep in mind, we have to actually get that process built into place at the police station. That means getting evidence.com in there, docking stations that charge them up," said Tuttle. "Where are you going to put those docking stations?”
So far, Phoenix officers in Maryvale Estrella Mountain and Mountain View precincts have been issued their cameras. The department started assigning them to officers in the South Mountain Precinct this week. Camera assignments will continue on Thursday.