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Hundreds more body cams headed to Metropolitan Police Department

Union contracts approved Monday by the Metropolitan Police Committee on Fiscal Affairs set the stage for all uniformed Las Vegas police officers to be fitted with body-worn camera systems.

Roughly 1,800 new body cams could be on the streets by the end of the year, Rich Hoggan, the Police Department’s chief financial officer, told the committee. The camera systems also would go to K-9 and SWAT officers, but it will take more time to outfit the officers from the airport unit, which is funded separately.

Metro Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said the department has about 900 officers with body cams on the streets, but it is important to get more out there and increase the department’s transparency.

“You see the national-level issues affecting policing today,” he said, referencing civil unrest over the use of deadly force by police in other cities — most recently in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We will be the first large major metropolitan police department in the country that has body-worn cameras deployed to all their uniformed personnel.”

Hoggan said the department already owns most of the camera systems, but they require extensive training for officers.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo made a campaign promise to outfit more officers with body cams, which he has said cost about $1,000 each.

The contracts for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association and the Las Vegas Police Managers and Supervisors Association were approved unanimously Monday by the committee members present. The committee’s newest member, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas President and CEO Bill McBeath, was absent.

According to a presentation on the three-year contracts, cost-of-living increases of just over 2 percent each year came after the unions agreed to have all uniformed officers wear body cams.

Officers also will receive an additional $200 for equipment each year under the contract. The increases in both contracts will have a $34.9 million fiscal impact on the department, including $5.9 million from the More Cops fund, throughout the next three years.

Much of the expense of police body camera systems is for the required storage of the video data, but Hoggan said it has not proven too costly. The department pays about $28,000 a year and has used only about one-third of its 60 terabytes of storage so far.

Contact Wesley Juhl at wjuhl@reviewjournal.com and 702-383-0391. Follow @WesJuhl on Twitter.

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