Louisiana will become the first state to equip every trooper with a body camera, the state's governor and police superintendent said Wednesday, reports the Monroe News-Star.
The decision to equip all 700 state police officers with body cameras comes after a summer of unrest in Louisiana's capital city, where the July 5 shooting death of a man by police generated massive protests. A lone gunman assassinated three policemen and wounded three more less than two weeks later.
"This full statewide deployment is the first of its kind in the country," Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a news conference at the Governor's Mansion. "Nobody else has done what we're announcing today."
Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police superintendent, called the body camera initiative a home run for police and the public. "This is exciting to me," he said. "This is about transparency and accountability, and it's great to be first."
Edmonson said the Louisiana initiative will cost $5.3 million over the life of a five-year contract with Scottsville, AZ-based TASER International, whose founder and chief executive Rick Smith also attended the news conference. "When people know they're being recorded, everybody's behavior improves," Smith said.