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Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson has put forward a sweeping $50.1 million plan to purchase body cameras for all 1,440 of the city’s police officers and to install new dash cameras on 880 department vehicles, delivering on a proposal that was pushed by the mayor.

Anderson made the expensive request at the Metro Nashville Police Department’s budget hearing with Mayor Megan Barry and her administration on Thursday, but it’s still unclear whether the mayor’s final budget will fully fund the entire undertaking.

Anderson’s proposal comes as activists in Nashville have demanded the purchase of cameras to be worn by officers following the death of Jocques Clemmons, a 31-year-old black man who was shot and killed in Nashville last month by a white Metro police officer during an altercation.

The chief’s plan, which involves a system that integrates the vehicle and body-worn camera networks, would require 24 new sworn officers and another nine civilian officers, totaling $8.9 million, and another $41.2 million in capital costs to purchase the necessary equipment and other infrastructure. This includes 3,100 cameras for cops to wear, 880 cameras for vehicles, storage capacity, back-up ability for each camera and the capacity to upload remotely.

“Certainly I understand that’s a very significant expenditure of public funds, and I’ve never made a request during my tenure for any funding that in any way approaches that,” said Anderson, who has led the police department since 2010. “But we’ve never taken on something as complicated and expensive as this camera project.”

He said the department needs to “avoid shortcuts” so there’s not “a few cameras here and a few cameras there.” He warned against a potential smaller-scale pilot program, saying he wants to ensure a situation does not arise in which an officer lacks a camera during an incident.

“If something is going to occur, the question is going to be, why did this officer not have a camera or why was this not recorded? So it’s something I believe we need to do as a total package as opposed to piecemeal it.”

The camera project is part of the police department’s overall proposed $214.5 million operating budget request for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which would be a $26 million increase over the current year. The larger $41.2 million chunk is part of a capital request of $61.5 million.

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Although Barry has been a supporter of body cameras in the police force, she raised concerns about the cost of Anderson’s plan during Thursday’s hearing. She cited recent camera rollouts in the police departments of Los Angeles, Charlotte, N.C. and Cleveland, Ohio that she said was not as costly.

“I’m wondering why (there’s) such a huge discrepancy in what is happening in other places with what you’re proposing,” Barry said.

Anderson responded by saying cost estimates come from research and that the department hopes to reduce the final dollar figures.

“On the other hand, we’re not proposing a Cadillac system, but we are proposing a Ford or a Chevrolet that starts every time and has four tires that will be able to get us somewhere,” Anderson said.

Barry cited data that suggests complaints against officers are reduced by 93 percent in cities that have body-worn cameras on officers. But she’s still not ready to commit to funding Anderson’s entire plan despite her pledged support of body cameras for all Metro officers.

She said her administration plans to “take a step back” after budget hearings with all departments are conducted to determine the best use of funding.

“I think the police have been very thoughtful on what they think is going to be required,” she said. “We’ll take the budget request and we’ll do some comparisons.”

Police body cameras, which provide video footage of arrests and encounters between police and civilians, are considered one way to reduce the potential for police misconduct.

The department’s body camera program would include outfitting each officer with two cameras apiece, allowing them to have one camera charging while another is in use. Anderson said his dash camera plan calls for installing four separate cameras on the department’s fleet of police vehicles to allow for 180-degree views.

Barry promised the inclusion of body cameras for all police officers in her next budget last October, but the police department was noncommittal on supporting such a program at the time. Officials instead said they were studying the issue.

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The mayor will formally present a budget to the Metro Council later this spring. If a police camera plan is approved, the police department would issue a request for proposals for the cameras project in July.

The issue of police cameras drew heightened attention after the Clemmons shooting, which occurred at the Cayce Place public housing community in East Nashville. The Metro Council voted 30-5 last week to call for the “immediate purchase” of an initial wave of 168 police body cameras.

“I think we’re at a point where there’s a consensus that we need body cameras in this city,” said Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher, a member of the council’s Minority Caucus, which sponsored the resolution. “We’re still at a point of, how are we going to fund it and how are we going to implement it?”

Vercher said she’s skeptical the council would be able to fully fund a $50 million department-wide camera program and said she prefers a pilot program despite Anderson’s concerns.

“I don’t want us as a city to get hung up on the enormity of the costs, but the public wants us to start somewhere,” she said. “I don’t see a pilot being a shortcut. I see it as implementing and fine-tuning before you deploy it.”

Equipping police officers with body-worn and vehicle cameras has been a battle cry in many large cities after several high-profile police shootings in recent years of African-American men, some of whom were unarmed. Clemmons was armed. Although Nashville lacks police body cameras, other nearby cities such as Memphis are in the process of rolling out their programs.

As part of his budget request, Anderson has also asked for a total of 128 new police employees, a figure he said is necessary to keep up with a growing city and includes the employees for the camera system.

Anderson wants 22 new officers for a new walking patrol pilot program in Nashville neighborhoods. Anderson, who want two shifts for the new beat, said the idea would be to “saturate the officers into the community.”

He’s requested another 48 new officers across the department’s eight precincts to help reduce response times, which he said has gotten worse as traffic has increased. An additional 22 new officers would be to help begin staff Nashville’s ninth police precinct, which is set to open in three years.

Other police department requests include $8.2 million to replace and upgrade the department’s mobile data computers; $2.3 million for staffing special events, including the city’s New Year’s Even and Fourth of July celebrations; $1.6 million to hire five new scientists and two forensic technicians at the department’s DNA crime lab; and additional staffing to expand the department’s Domestic Violence Division and its Traffic Unity and Criminal Investigations team.

Reach Joey Garrison at 615-259-8236 and on Twitter @joeygarrison.