Jerry and Linda Vandeveer wrote for this for the Journal-Gazette.
It is reprinted here with their permission:
Businesses can assist with body-camera purchases
Many stories are appearing about body cameras for police officers. With questions about security, open-records laws and personal privacy, the natural thought would be to wait until these are answered before creating a plan to purchase them. We would disagree with this logic and so would Fort Wayne police, as demonstrated by applications for grant money to help fund the purchase of cameras. Obviously, receiving enough grant money to equip all officers could take years.
Our larger employers are hoping to retain their workforce and attract young qualified millennials. One of the biggest factors considered when relocating is safety.
For this reason, we are proposing that larger employers could form a nonprofit coalition in which they could donate tax-deductible money to be used to purchase cameras and storage space to be used by the FWPD and Allen County Sheriff’s Department. When employers come together to help promote the safety of our officers and the citizens of the communities they serve, it speaks volumes to their allegiance to Fort Wayne and Allen County.
We run a mom-and-pop business and we thought this was such an important issue that we bought two body cameras and donated them to the FWPD. The members of FOP Associate Lodge 6 (which we belong to) thought the same and donated two more.
It’s not about who has the most money to donate; it’s about protecting our officers and communities, and showing our current and potential new businesses that not only do we want your new employment opportunities and tax dollars, we want you to know that we care about the safety of our communities, too.
Please consider coming together to help acquire the tools needed to keep pace with ongoing safety concerns of our citizens and communities.