Police body cameras lead to 39-percent drop in complaints

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Cameras do not lie and neither do numbers.

Memphis police told a city council committee body cameras on officers have reduced the number of citizen complaints by nearly 40-percent.

After a rocky roll out that spurted and stopped, nearly 100-percent of Memphis police officers have body cameras.

The technology is working as number of complaints against MPD has dropped 39-percent in just one year.

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"I will repeat what an officer told me a little while ago. He said, 'Director, it keeps us straight and it keeps the citizens straight," said Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings.

The data presented by MPD shows a dramatic drop in the number of complaints against officers in every police precinct but one, Mount Moriah. "We deployed body worn cameras when the DA was ready, and we had our video analysts in place. So, it is another great tool," said Rallings.

Activists from the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center advocated for body worn cameras for years. Paul Garner of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center told FOX 13, "I think there are still some questions about the body camera policy and how that video is made available to the public, to the person who is involved in that incident with police. How are they using it for prosecution?"

The data also shows that the body camera video also gave police enough evidence to find six officers at fault after a citizens complaint.

FOX13 asked the Director what happened to those cops. "Know that those cases have been handled, and if the officer required discipline, they were disciplined, and some of those investigations are still ongoing," said Rallings.