The cameras will be used to document police confrontations. DVDs of confrontations can be burned as evidence if requested and will be disposed of periodically.
Atack said it is important the DVDs are not too easy to access.
“One bad day could follow an officer for the rest of their life,” he said. “We don’t want the footage ending up in the wrong hands.”
Horton said benefits for implementing the cameras included reduced court time and potential liability from frivolous lawsuits.
The footage could also hold officers accountable for their actions and aid in court testimonies.
Sarah Preston, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of N.C., said she was thankful to Horton for involving the organization in the policy development process, but she raised concerns for the privacy implications of these devices.
She urged the department to keep officers from controlling when they can turn the cameras off.
“We don’t want them to edit on the fly,” Preston said. “Also, we want to make sure there is a way that recorded people can view the video once they are saved upon request.”
Alderman Sammy Slade suggested police vehicles with cameras put stickers on their cars to let citizens know about the surveillance.
And Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell said if people are aware they are being filmed they might be more aware of their actions, and incidents could be prevented through the use of cameras.
Board of Commissioners
Chapel Hill residents and Arizona-based company Sunlight Partners squared off over a plan proposed at the Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday evening. The plan would create a 19-acre solar farm in the Falls of New Hope neighborhood in Chapel Hill.
Residents of the neighborhood raised concerns to the board about the potential negative impact on property values and standards of living.
Both sides presented their case to the board in a quasi-judicial public hearing, where experts and residents gave sworn testimony to the board.
“We feel that this site is worthy of approval,” said Sunlight attorney Mike Fox. “There’s no noise, no pollution, no traffic.”
Part of Sunlight’s plan includes a buffer zone, where the company would plant trees and shrubs intended to block the resident’s view of solar panels. Sunlight said that it would plant eight-foot trees that would eventually grow to 30 feet.
Commissioner Earl McKee raised questions about how long this would take.
“In my mind, it’s a radical difference between waiting one year, three years, 30 years for this buffer to be in place,” McKee said.
The commissioners reassured residents that any violation of the laws of the county could result in the immediate shutdown of the property, an action that the board said it was not opposed to taking.
The commissioners originally planned on resolving the issue in September, but due to the issue’s complexity, members of the board want to hold another meeting to discuss the issue further. The board voted unanimously to hold another public hearing on the issue in their meeting on Sept. 8.
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