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Ducey unveils plan to start equipping Arizona troopers with body cams

Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Kevin Johnson shows off the new Axon Body 2 body camera after demonstrating to fellow officers how the camera works as another precinct gets their cameras assigned to them Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday announced a plan to start equipping state troopers with body-worn cameras.

The plan, which a press release says involves private sector suppliers, calls for the Arizona Department of Public Safety to provide troopers with 150 body cameras in the coming months.

“Increasing public trust and keeping our state troopers safe are issues on which we can all agree — and we plan to move forward on this good idea,” Ducey said in the release.

“With this phased-in approach, we can begin equipping state troopers with body-worn cameras while helping ensure the eventual full deployment of this equipment is a success.

A DPS spokesman told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email that details about vendors and the timeline will be made available after contracts are completed.

This year’s initial state budget included funding to equip all 1,200-plus state troopers with body cameras, but that was scuttled when the focus shifted to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ducey said he would work with the state Legislature in the next session “to provide the necessary funding to extend this important effort agency-wide.”

DPS Director Col. Heston Silbert called Wednesday’s announcement “the first step in achieving the important goal of equipping DPS troopers with body-worn cameras.”

The move comes less than two weeks after Maricopa County prosecutors declined to press charges against the trooper who fatally shot Dion Johnson on a Phoenix freeway.

The trooper wasn’t equipped with a body camera, and there is no known video of the May 25 shooting.

After announcing on Sept. 21 that charges wouldn’t be pursued, Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel called for all uniformed law enforcement personnel to be equipped with body cameras.

Johnson, a 28-year-old Black man, was killed the same day George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck for around nine minutes.

Four police officers have been charged in Floyd’s death, which was captured on video and set off a wave of protests against police brutality and racial inequality across the nation and world.

During Phoenix-area rallies, protesters have been citing Johnson’s case along with those of Floyd and others killed by officers as examples of injustice against minorities.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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