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Phoenix to halt rollout of body cameras for all police officers to await new tech

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix is putting a halt on its eventual plan to equip all of its police officers with a body camera until they can get ones with newer technology.

Police Chief Jeri Williams said the original request for proposal did not include cameras with the latest technology, such as those that allow for a wider field of view.

“I recently directed the city’s project manager to rewrite camera specifications for our next major purchase to include the newest functions we believe are best designed for our officers and our community,” she said. “We are pursuing a new RFP.”

Williams said officials did not predict how fast body camera technology would increase when the original RFP was issued.

“Although the city has been a leader in body-worn camera program development, even we could not have imagined the exponential growth in technology,” she said. “The newest camera designs offer features that are far superior to the technology available to us when the pilot program kicked off in the Maryvale/Estrella Mountain Precinct in 2013.”

Williams said, if her officers are going to be wearing cameras, she wants them to have all the latest features.

“As we move forward, I want to ensure we stay on the cutting edge of camera technology and the transparency it helps us deliver.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said he’s fine with Williams’ decision.

“If [Williams] wants to take more time to make sure we get the body-cam issue right, I support our police chief,” he said.

Williams said the ultimate goal is to have every Phoenix officer wear a body cam while on duty. The ones currently in use, she said, will be replaced with newer models.

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