The state troopers who deal most often with the public may soon be outfitted with body cameras.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security is asking the legislature for $2.3 million in funding to make this happen.
Currently, the Tennessee Highway Patrol owns 84 body cameras, but Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long told lawmakers Monday he wants to purchase about 700 more.
“Our immediate plan is to try to get them on the troopers here at the capitol and the ones who are on the road,” Long said during a committee hearing.
He is asking the legislature to allocate about $2.3 million dollars to pay for the body cams and for cloud storage. Officials with the department say that tends to be very expensive, since troopers also have cameras in their patrol cars and SUVs. If the request is approved by the legislature, agency leaders say the rollout will be slow, and they don’t expect to purchase everything this year.
Interactions of troopers with civilians have been heavily scrutinized in the past year. During last summer’s protests, troopers and racial justice activists faced off on multiple occasions outside the Tennessee Capitol. Some of the incidents left protestors injured.
Another event resulted in the firing of a trooper after a video showed him ripping off the face mask of an activist.