Body cameras, other reform efforts coming to CPD in wake of Ferg - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Body cameras, other reform efforts coming to CPD in wake of Ferguson, NYC rulings

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Calling it a "major public safety initiative", Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook announced several reform efforts in the wake of questions about law enforcement response following incidents in Ferguson, MO and New York City. 

Benjamin said he will require all Columbia Police Department officers to wear body cameras on top of several other reform efforts aimed at increasing accountability. The mayor says he hopes to have body cameras CPD-wide by the end of 2015. 

Those other efforts include additional training, further diversification at CPD, and the creation of a citywide Human Rights Commission. 

The body cameras initiative comes as nationwide critics say the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson could have been solved more effectively if Officer Darren Wilson wore a body camera during the confrontation that ended with Brown's death.

Benjamin and Holbrook say some of these measures are already underway. Others are new or represent expansions of existing programs.

Holbrook says his department's current relationship with the community is very strong, but could be better if some issues like staffing can be addressed.

The mayor's office also plans to set up listening sessions in various areas of the city.

The mayor is calling the initiative "Justice for All".

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