Delaware Leaders Consider Trooper Body Cameras - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Leaders Consider Trooper Body Cameras


DOVER, Del. - Lessons from the Ferguson, MO shooting have pushed some Delaware leaders towards action, in regards to equipping officers with new body cameras. Despite the proposal being in very preliminary stages, the idea has already gained some bipartisan support.

In Delaware, vehicles already have cameras in them, but the change would equip all troopers with body cameras as well.

The controversy all began on Aug. 9, when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. The shooting prompted protests and passionate debate on race relations and police involvement in the black community.

On Nov. 24, a St. Louis County grand jury announced that it would not indict Wilson for the shooting. 

In Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell said he is in discussions about these cameras with the Delaware State Police and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of Delaware. Markell said that the advantages of these body cameras would be tremendous.

"There won't be any uncertainty," he said. "There's a lot of uncertainty about what exactly happened in Ferguson, Missouri. If that officer had a body camera that uncertainty wouldn't have existed."

The state police tell WBOC that they are currently "researching the logistics and feasibility of deployment," adding that they "are not prepared to discuss anything further until (they) progress in the process."

Outside of Troop 7 in Lewes, President of the Lower Sussex County NAACP Jane Hovington said that the cameras would ensure justice for civilians.

"You can't always depend on eye witnesses," she said. "But if he had a camera on him, then we would have been able to say this is what happened. The camera would have shown what happened."

On the other side of the aisle, there was relative agreement from many in the GOP.

"It would offer an increased level of accountability and safety for both the officer and the citizen" said John Rieley, Chairman of the Sussex County Republican Party. "While the increased cost is certainly a consideration, the benefit of less controversy in police interactions with the public could help offset some of that cost."

Former chairman, and Republican strategist Duke Brooks agreed.

"People saying that there's been an injustice here one way or the other," Brooks said. "They'll be able to see it. And I think that's the type of evidence that's superior to eye-witnesses."

On Monday, President Barack Obama joined the discussion as well. Obama proposed budgeting a three-year multi-million dollar spending package, of which about $75 million would go towards the purchase of about 50,000 body cameras for troopers nationwide.

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