PHOENIX — Troopers across Arizona will soon receive body-worn cameras, Gov. Doug Ducey's office announced Wednesday.
The governor's office announced a new plan "involving private sector suppliers" to start providing troopers with the cameras.
12 News asked for more specific information regarding the program and the roll-out but the governor's office declined to provide it.
The office did not specify which companies would be providing the equipment, instead referring 12 News to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The department will provide 150 cameras to state troopers, the governor's office said in a press release.
Those initial cameras were donated and the state did not pay for them, the governor's office told 12 News.
The troopers will be in both rural and urban areas throughout Arizona, but their specific locations were not disclosed.
The governor's office said in the release that the phased-in approach will begin rolling out "over the coming months."
It will help the department "better determine the staffing, infrastructure and technological requirements of an agency-wide rollout."
Ducey plans to work with state lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session to secure funding to put a body-worn camera on every trooper, the governor's office said.
In a statement to 12 News, DPS says they support the governor's advocacy for body-worn cameras.
"Body-worn cameras are important for the protection of our troopers and to increase public transparency.
"This initial phase is for 150 body-worn cameras to be deployed to troopers throughout the state in both rural and metro areas. Appropriations from the Legislature will be needed to expand this effort agency-wide.
"But neither the state nor DPS would release information as to who is donating the cameras, "More information regarding the vendors and conditions and timeline will be made available as contracts are finalized," DPS said in a statement. According to DPS as of now, there is no finalized contract and the department is not in possession of the 150 cameras. " A phased-in approach will allow us to better understand the costs and resources needed for a successful state-wide deployment."
The issue of equipping Arizona state troopers with body-worn cameras has been recently discussed after Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel decided not to criminally charge the trooper who shot and killed Dion Johnson.
Adel said in a statement on Wednesday that she applauded Ducey for the move.
"Transparency and accountability are critical elements within our criminal justice system," the emailed statement read.
"Mandatory use of body-worn cameras for all uniformed officers in the field is absolutely vital and that is why I have made this one of my top priorities as Maricopa County attorney."
The governor's office told 12 News that Ducey and Adel regularly communicate, but have not spoken about the new plan.
"I would welcome collaboration, that's one of my core values. I welcome those conversations if they want to have them," said Adel.
Arizona State University criminology and criminal justice professor Dr. Michael White has done extensive research on the effectiveness of body-worn cameras.
The research followed a number of high-profile, in-custody police killings of unarmed black men in 2014 and 2015.
He said research shows body-worn cameras lowers complaints and use of force involving officers and in-light-of recent deaths involving Breonna Taylor and Dion Johnson people expect transparency.
“We are at the point where the community, citizens expect there will be footage of an incident and when that’s not there, there are serious questions about why that is,” White said.
White said there is overwhelming support for the technology however costs associated with the cameras and housing video can be challenging for departments.
"Costs is the big issue and now with the pandemic, and the consequences for local, state and federal budgets it becomes tricky in how to adopt a new program that will cost money to maintain," he said.
"A camera with no data does us no good," said Democratic House Representative Alma Hernandez. "It's 150 cameras but it's still going to cost money to operate them."
Hernandez is pushing for all law enforcement across the state to be outfitted with a body-worn camera including school resource officers.
"I do anticipate when we go back into session to provide cameras for all officers."
Ducey's office said in a statement earlier this month that the governor has "advocated all sessions for this funding to equip every state trooper with a body-worn camera."
"It's still a priority and something we're going to be working to get into the budget moving forward," the governor's office said at the time.
The governor's proposal from January included $5 million for 1,267 body cameras for troopers.
Adel earlier this month also called for troopers to wear body cameras, calling it a matter of public concern following her decision not to criminally prosecute the trooper involved in Johnson's shooting death.
“Body-worn cameras for uniformed officers in the field is just good policy,” Adel said. “I don’t know if it would have made a difference (in the Johnson case) because we don’t have that information.”
Adel, who was appointed to her position after Bill Montgomery was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court, is running to keep her seat against Democrat Julie Gunnigle this November.