Police body camera trend has Detroit-area gaps -- including Wayne, Oakland deputies

September 15, 2020, 10:40 AM

Body-worn video cameras seem to be on most police officers, as suggested by evidence in high-visibility cases.

(Photo: Axon Enterprise, Inc.)

Though they've spread widely in recent years, notable gaps remain in Metro Detroit. Dearborn Heights, Warren, Waterford, Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights and St. Clair Shores officers don't have them, Ross Jones reports in a WXYZ roundup Neither do deputies in Wayne and Oakland counties.

Detroit Police became the largest agency in the state to fully deploy body cameras in 2017. The Macomb and Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office introduced them too, along with Dearborn, Livonia and Ann Arbor Police.

But sizable departments throughout Michigan have resisted, either over concerns about cost, privacy or implementation. ... The largest police force in the state—Michigan State Police—has less than 150 body cameras, reserved only for specialized units.

Jones quotes Oakland Sheriff Michael Bouchard, who says he's not trying to shield his force from scrutiny:

"I love cameras for police accountability," he said. "I hate cameras because they intrude on your privacy."

Bouchard says he's concerned that a body cameras might capture too much, like citizens in embarrassing or private situations that could be made public. ...

But three years ago, then-Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a whole host of privacy exemptions just for body cameras, protecting crime victims and exempting records that would invade someone’s personal privacy.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which allows for citizens to request public records from local and state government, also includes a list of privacy exemptions.

Read more:  WXYZ

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