The Tupelo Police Department is ready to begin using its new body cameras after city officials completed a policy for their use. Daily Journal local government reporter Caleb Bedillion (8:03) joins Derek and Brad on today’s episode to discuss the cameras and the new policy.
Officers wearing the cameras will be required to activate them into recording mode during “any enforcement contact or call for service” except for certain exceptions detailed by the policy – such as in non-work related activities, in medical situations or in schools.
Body cameras have been more than a year in coming. City police initially ordered the cameras in January 2016. A dispute with the company that provided them caused a delay in putting the cameras into use until an alternative plan emerged during the summer. It then took several months to draft a policy for the use of the cameras.
Caleb also will talk about the likely creation of a police advisory board, which now appears to have the support of Tupelo’s City Council.
But the majority of the Council made it clear during a work session last week that an advisory board would not have any kind of oversight or investigatory authority over the Tupelo Police Department. The board recommended by the mayor’s administration would meet monthly and hear reports on police activities and events, as well as crime statistics. It would offer input and advice.
Also on today’s episode, Daily Journal Capitol bureau chief Bobby Harrison (29:46) talks about the recent unsuccessful attempts by state Rep. William Shirley, R-Quitman, to add amendments to various revenue bills that would force Mississippi’s eight public universities to fly the state flag in order to receive state funding.
None of Mississippi’s eight public universities currently fly the flag, which contains the controversial Confederate battle emblem as part of its design.
Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn is the highest ranking state official who has supported changing the flag. In order to narrowly defeat Shirley’s amendments, he has relied on a coalition that consists largely of House Democrats.
Bobby also talks about a couple of other key issues currently facing Mississippi lawmakers – education funding and crafting a new budget.
And Daily Journal education reporter Emma Kent (41:11) talks about a new report looking at health and education in Mississippi.
The Mississippi KIDS COUNT organization recently released its 2017 fact book. This year’s report focuses on the question of what it would take for Mississippi to go from 50th in the United States to number one in the Southeast in terms of overall child wellbeing. It focuses on early childhood education and chronic absenteeism and highlights some programs already in place, such as Excel by 5, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Districts of Innovation.