Community fundraising provides body cameras for Edinburgh Police

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EDINBURGH, Ind. — A family fundraising effort and donations from the community raised enough money to purchase new body cameras for the Edinburgh Police Department.

Chianne Woodall says she was already looking for a community service project to involve her grandchildren in when she had a chance encounter with Edinburgh Police Chief Doyne Little.  Woodall happened to be at a location where Little had responded to a police run.

“Then I started hearing that officers needed body cams,” Woodall said. “So I thought that would be a good thing to do.”

“She showed up at the scene and she says ‘Hey I need to talk to you for a minute, do you guys have body cams,’” Little said.

Little and a couple of his officers had already purchased their own body cameras, but cameras were not in the budget for the rest of the department. Little was already hoping to budget for cameras for the rest of his officers in the town’s 2021 budget.

That conversation kicked off a family fundraising effort that included Woodall and her grandchildren selling baked goods at the Edinburgh Farmers Market.

“There was people who came every week and just gave money, whether they got something or not,” she said.

As word was spreading about why Woodall was raising money, she worked with the charitable motorcycle club, the 8th Day Riders, to host a car show fundraiser in downtown Edinburgh.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Woodall said. “All these people have stepped up to help and stuff, it was really heart warming.”

Before long, Woodall and her grandchildren had raised more than $3,000, enough to purchase 17 body cameras for the police department.

“They’re purchased, paid for and done,” Little said. “And basically it’s just the cost of storage, is the only other recurring cost that I have.”

“We’re looking at about 3-to-5 thousand dollars to start off,” Little said. “What that’s going to do is get us the equipment that we need to put into our server and our storage.”

While video storage will be an annual expense for the department, Little says he’s thankful he doesn’t have to budget for the cameras themselves.  

“It’s not often that you see young people putting a cause together and really fighting for it tooth and nail, and they have been huge,” Little said. “They truly are my heroes, because without them this wouldn’t be possible.”

Each of his 12 full-time officers will be equipped with a camera. The remaining five cameras will be shared by the department’s seven reserve officers.

Little hopes to have a Standard Operating Procedure in place in time for all the cameras to go in service by November 1.

“It’s really important because it documents evidence, that’s a huge piece of our business obviously,” Little said.

Woodall says she’s thankful for the community’s support in the effort. She’s especially glad she was able to involve her grandchildren for a lesson in community service.

“I want them to see that example that I lead and to give to others,” she said. “To give back, to be good people.”

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