Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett made the announcement Tuesday that the city intends to equip all IMPD officers with body cameras by September of this year.
Hogsett’s announcement arrived on the heels of last week’s controversial shooting of 21-year-old Sean Reed, who allegedly fired upon IMPD officers after leading police on a high-speed chase through several residential neighborhoods.
According to today’s announcement by Mayor Hogsett, the IMPD body cameras will provide transparency for the community as well as reassurance that all police activity is conducted with the utmost professionalism.
Perhaps that’s true, but from a cynic’s perspective, today’s announcement looks more like a desperate attempt to appease a very disruptive and potentially explosive group of people in our community who appear to require constant reassurance that law enforcement officers aren’t behaving like a bunch of racist, redneck thugs whenever they encounter a person of color.
Today, under the unofficial banner of “police reforms,” our Mayor chose to embolden the angry, sometimes violent, and completely illogical protestors who are responding to the Sean Reed shooting – a suspect with a criminal history, two outstanding warrants, and a penchant for posting Facebook videos of himself indiscriminately firing his semi-automatic weapon in residential neighborhoods. What a guy.
Unfortunately, body cameras will never appease those in our country with a deep-seated hatred for law enforcement – the ones who will never be pacified by facts, evidence, and the truth.
Mayor Joe Hogsett asserts that the cameras are designed to protect law enforcement as well, but that’s not his primary concern.
How do we know?
475 days ago, Rick Snyder, President of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of the Police, stood in front of a podium and called upon city leadership to protect our officers by making the investment in technology such as body cameras, public safety cameras, and gunshot detection systems.
Unfortunately, Mayor Hogsett failed to heed that call to action, which left IMDP officers vulnerable to accusations of improper use of force, racism, and in the matter of the Sean Reed shooting, murder.
The City-County Council voted last fall to put a million dollars for cameras in this year’s budget, but Hogsett and police chief Randal Taylor claim it took months to select a company for the contract.
That excuse almost seemed plausible before discovering that Georgia-based Utility already supplies body cameras to Lawrence, South Bend, and five other Indiana cities, as well as sheriff’s departments in Boone, Hancock, Hendricks, Dubois and Perry Counties.
Did the Mayor really require roughly half a year to select a vendor? How many contractors submitted their bids? Good Lord, I pity the server who gets assigned to Hogsett when he dines at the Cheesecake Factory.
FOP President Rick Snyder expressed his frustration with today’s announcement from Mayor Hogsett during an appearance on WIBC’s the Hammer and Nigel Show.
“The Mayor’s comments gave the impression that the investment is specifically in response to the Reed shooting,” said Snyder, who also took issue with the Mayor’s claim that the total investment to equip IMPD officers with cameras is only $1.2 million.
“That is false. It is not true and we need to be upfront about it,” said Snyder. “We made clear last January that it’s going to cost $15-20 million for this total technology investment [so] be upfront about it.”
He continued: “The problem [the FOP has] is that we get this announcement under the title of ‘Police Reforms’ at a time when our city is on edge, and it suggests and casts dispersions on the immediate events that just occurred last week. That is inappropriate given those investigations are still underway.”
Snyder reminded Hammer and Nigel that officers have been pleading for the department to equip them with body cameras for several years.
“IMPD has been talking about body-worn cameras since as far back as 2014 and before,” explained Snyder. “Now suddenly, on the heels of [the Reed shooting], we’re making this rash announcement. It should have been done a long time ago.”
The Indy FOP released a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to the Mayor, which also noted the failure of city leadership to address verified threats and acts of violence that have been launched against IMPD officers in the wake of the Sean Reed shooting.
FULL STATEMENT from Indy FOP following today’s announcement by Indy Mayor, Council President and Chief of Police pic.twitter.com/JDcxPnOXix
— Rick Snyder (@RickFOP86) May 12, 2020
“We have videos of people stalking officers’ homes. We have videos of people openly threatening the murder of our officers. And not one word – not one – from an elected official in our city,” said Snyder.
“And here’s the thing,” he continued. “They all know about it, but they refuse to acknowledge it. What does that tell you about us as a society?”
Click below to hear Hammer and Nigel’s full interview with FOP President Rick Synder.