INDIANAPOLIS – More than a quarter of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's pod cameras are out of order, according to new details obtained by Call 6 Investigates.
The cameras, which are known for their flashing blue lights, are spread out at 78 different locations throughout the city. Each location has multiple cameras that are pointed at different angles.
As of Tuesday morning, about a quarter of those cameras are offline, IMPD told Call 6.
When working, the cameras are meant to record video 24/7 and allow officers to remotely view the live feed from the laptops in their vehicles, the 911 center or the Emergency Operations Center.
While the cameras are used for real-time monitoring, the recordings are often utilized by detectives to review incidents or look for potential suspects or information on bigger crimes.
The pod cameras and the flashing blue light have also been proven to reduce crime in certain areas, according to IMPD.
Police say one of the areas that has seen a decrease of crime because of the pod camera is 21st Street and the Monon Trail on the city’s near north side.
Although those blue lights continue to flash, police say the number of actual working cameras at each location changes daily.
According to police records, over the past 60 days, only one day had 87 percent of camera locations working. Since then, the number of working cameras has stayed at roughly 75 percent, or between 55-60 cameras.
Indianapolis police say they’re concerned about the number of malfunctioning cameras, but also with the age of the technology being used.
According to records obtained by Call 6 Investigates, the first cameras were installed in 2007 and the second set of cameras were installed before the Super Bowl in 2011. Many of them haven’t been fully upgraded since they were first installed.
The police pod cameras were the focus of a Call 6 Investigation in 2017 where we found key police cameras, like the one at 21st Street and the Monon Trail, were out of order.
At the time, IMPD said that they were in the process of upgrading the cameras. They were also planning on launching a program called “Project Green Light” to allow businesses to link their security camera systems with the city’s system so police officers and 911 operators could monitor them in real-time.
"Project Green Light" was put on hold until the development and deployment of the county’s new computer-aided dispatch system, which will allow for better and easier connectivity with those businesses.
Asked the Indianapolis City-County Council for funds to address the camera issues during a 2019 budget hearing Wednesday night. Among his proposals was a request to replace older cameras and add new cameras to 25 locations at an estimated $10,000 per unit.
Roach also asked for IMPD’s ranks to grow to 1,743 officers by 2019. Roach said the department was overwhelmed with the departure of nearly 100 officers this year.