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Indiana State Police troopers begin wearing body cameras

The cameras will automatically turn on when troopers activate their vehicle's emergency lights or draw their weapon.

INDIANA, USA — Within the coming weeks, all 800 Indiana State Police (ISP) troopers will be required to wear body cameras while on patrol. More than 200 troopers started wearing them Thursday.

Before this week, ISP troopers only used dash cameras. With the department's new system, three cameras will be used - a body camera, a dash camera and a camera facing the passenger side of the trooper's vehicle.

"Every officer that works the road is going to have that camera," ISP Sgt. Carey Huls said.

According to Sgt. Huls, the cameras will turn on automatically when troopers activate their vehicles' emergency lights or when they draw their weapon. Once that camera is on, troopers will not be allowed to mute their microphone or stop the recording until the "conclusion of the event." 

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Troopers who fail to follow that policy could face misdemeanor charges.

"We don't fear the camera on," said Officer LeeAnn Carter with the Westfield Police Department. "We want the camera on to show what we are doing."

Gov. Eric Holcomb issued the mandate in Aug. 2020, following the death of Malcolm Williams in April. Williams was shot and killed by an ISP trooper during a traffic stop in Jeffersonville.

Since state troopers were not required to wear body cameras at the time, there was no footage of the incident, and the Clark County prosecutor ultimately determined that the trooper's actions were "justified."

Williams' family has filed a lawsuit against the trooper involved.

RELATED: Malcolm Williams' family attorney says physical evidence will play a big role in lawsuit

The department hopes that the system will increase transparency and strengthen trust between troopers and the community.

"We won't say that it answers all the questions, that it answers all the problems, but it is a tool that will help us get further to that goal," said ISP Superintendent Doug Carter.

The department does not currently have a protocol on when body camera video will be released to the public following an incident.

Additional police reform measures went into effect in Indiana earlier this month. These include requiring officers to take de-escalation training, banning chokeholds and creating a procedure to decertify officers who commit misconduct.

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