The three members of the Durham City Council who've been most engaged on the issue of police body cameras—Steve Schewel, Jillian Johnson, and Charlie Reece—all agreed Monday night that the policy has come a long way since the first draft was released in December. But they also agreed that it hadn't come far enough for them to sign off on the purchase of $366,738 worth of cameras.
Schewel outlined the lingering concerns, by now familiar to those who've been following along: What privacy protections are there for ordinary citizens? And what process will exist for the public to gain access to videos?
Schewel suggested establishing an independent panel, appointed by the council, to review all use-of-force videos. Reece and Johnson have previously advocated for the automatic release of any footage depicting use of force (juveniles and ongoing investigations excepted).
Mayor Bill Bell, growing a bit impatient, said, "I'm ready to move on this this evening. But it appears we have three council members with strong opinions on what should go in [the policy]."
He instructed Schewel, Johnson, and Reece to formulate final recommendations and present them to the city manager. The council will hear those recommendations—God willing, the final version of the body-cam policy—on March 7.