FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A year after Governor Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana State Police (ISP) troopers would be required to wear body cameras, the agency has finished installing the equipment for the program.
It’s a safety precaution with a $15 million price tag over the next five years. According to Sgt. Brian Walker, a spokesman for ISP, the cameras won’t alleviate the safety issues that troopers encounter on a daily basis, but they will help with documenting their encounters.
Eight hundred ISP troopers are now wearing the real-time, high resolution Axon cameras. They are mounted on their uniform, and their squad cars have newly installed front-facing and rear-facing interior cameras.
The cameras are all synced with one another, to boot.
“If our officer initiates a traffic stop by turning on his lights, that automatically initiates the in-car camera and the body camera,” Sgt. Walker said. “The other way the cameras are activated – we have sensors that are on our holsters and then we have our locking mechanisms for our rifles in our vehicles. When we initiate those to take a rifle out or to upholster our weapon, that also initiates the cameras to turn on.”
Axon is the brand of the cameras ISP is using. Fort Wayne Police confirmed they have dozens of officers wearing the same brand. If the two are on the scene together and in close enough proximity, their cameras will sync up and record the scene, despite being from difference law agencies.
The body cameras must be on at all times, unless a facility doesn’t allow video recording. After the trooper’s shift, the footage is uploaded to an evidence storage cloud and stored.
The public can request to view the footage by sending an email to Indiana State Police’s legal division.
Sgt. Walker told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that in general, ISP troopers are very courteous and professional when it comes to public engagement, and the cameras the cameras should show that. He said he expects the cameras to help investigate complaints and cases.
The equipment isn’t perfect, though.
“It’s a piece of equipment. It’s technology and it has limitations,” Sgt. Walker said. “The camera is something that has the ability to only see what it can see. It can’t see outside of that scope. If something were to happen off-camera that this doesn’t capture, you don’t necessarily get to see everything.”
Currently, the only troopers with the cameras are enforcement troopers who are ranked as a Sergeant or lower.