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Michigan Can’t Find $3.5 Million For State Police Body Cams, Spends $15 Million On Tourism Marketing

About $2,200 per officer per year to acquire, operate body cams

Tensions are high over police actions captured on videos, including ones obtained from police body cameras. Body cameras have been promoted as a means to protect both the public and law enforcement officers.

Most residents of this state may not be aware the Michigan State Police does not equip its frontline troopers with body cameras.

“MSP troopers are not equipped with body cameras, as they have been cost prohibitive for us given the size of our agency,” said Shanon Banner, spokeswoman for the Michigan State Police. “The bulk of the cost comes in storage costs for the video.”

About 1,100 state troopers in 2017 had patrol duties, and the state police estimates as many as 1,600 would be candidates for body cameras if commercial motor vehicle officers and state properties security officers were included.

The total cost of equipping an officer with a body camera is about $2,200 per year, according to one analysis, which includes maintenance and data storage. This means it could cost the state about $3.5 million a year to equip each state trooper with a body camera.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive budget recommendation for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 was released before the COVID-19 epidemic. It proposed $15 million for a Pure Michigan tourism marketing campaign.