Council approves grant for body cameras, tasers for JPD

Council approves grant for body cameras, tasers for JPD

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Tens of thousands of dollars worth of new equipment for the Jonesboro Police Department was approved Tuesday night by the city council.

Ten trained JPD officers will soon be outfitted with body cameras. Though that's only a small percentage of the number of patrol officers on Jonesboro streets, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin told Region 8 News Tuesday night that it's a start.

"Anytime we can buy anything for them that increases safety for them, there's no question they're gonna be all for it," Perrin said.

Perrin said those cameras will work two-fold. "It takes a lot of the liability off of them too as well as safety," Perrin said. "It takes a lot of the W's out of what happened, who, who done it, etc."

Perrin often rides along with patrol officers on Friday nights. He said dash cams are great but body cameras will leave less questions to be asked.

"I can hear the audio and I can see the little camera that's being run on the deal but you put that body camera on, you're close, you know what's going on."

Those cameras are available through the Department of Justice. According to the city's contract with the DOJ, those 10 cameras cost just under $12,000.

Perrin said with about 125 certified officers patrolling the streets, he'd like to have every one of them outfitted with a body camera.

"That just takes a lot of the doubt out," Perrin said.

Perrin will leave for Washington DC later this month. He said with the recent shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri, he anticipates the Department of Justice to allocate more money for body cameras in the near future.

"Because they're not that expensive for what they do," Perrin said.

That grant will also fund 18 tasers for the police department. Mayor Perrin said he expects those 10 cameras to go on patrol officers but said that decision will ultimately be made by the police chief once a new one is appointed.

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