National police body camera experts to visit Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A group of national experts on police body cameras plan to visit Nashville next week, Mayor Cooper announced Thursday.

The mayor's office tells FOX 17 News the visit is intended to help Metro criminal justice departments finalize plans for deploying and testing body cameras.

The visit slated for Jan. 21-22 is sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We appreciate the willingness of the Bureau of Justice Assistance to help Nashville address our remaining policy challenges and roll out cameras in a way that reflects best practices from cities across the nation,” said Mayor John Cooper. “This distinguished group of criminal justice professionals will bring national expertise to Nashville, help us engage the community, and ensure that we both deploy and test our body-worn cameras the right way.”

The visit comes as Metro Police officers are still patrolling the city without body cameras more than 900 days after funding for the cameras was approved by Metro Council.

The body camera consultants visiting Nashville consists of five experts. Mayor Cooper's office provided the following list of qualifications:

Dr. James "Chip" Coldren, BWC TTA Director

Dr. Coldren, Jr., is the Project Director on BWC TTA and is a Managing Director for Justice Programs in the Safety and Security Division at CNA. He has more than 35 years of experience in the areas of research; program and policy evaluation; policy development; advocacy; development, coordination, and delivery of training and technical assistance; and justice system improvement. In addition to serving as the Project Director on BWC TTA, Dr. Coldren is also the National Director of training and technical assistance for the BJA Strategies for Policing Innovation Initiative and BJA National Public Safety Partnership, and a senior advisor for the new Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) technical assistance initiative. He currently serves as Principal Investigator on a National Institute of Justice funded study of equipment modalities and correctional officer safety. He recently conducted a randomized experiment with BWCs in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and will soon start a randomized study of BWCs in the Loudoun County (VA) adult detention center.

Charles Stephenson, BWC TTA Senior Advisor

Charles Stephenson is a senior advisor for the BWC TTA and is currently a public safety technologist for CNA. For the past 19 years, he has assisted public safety agencies in addressing their technology needs and challenges while supporting the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance along with various Office of Justice Programs such as the National Institute of Justice and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Centers. Some of his more notable work has involved the implementation of body-worn cameras, the use of situational awareness tools, the development of dynamic open architecture radios, gunshot detection technologies, and methods to combat the illicit use of cell phones in correctional facilities. Mr. Stephenson is a retired Army Officer who served in the Signal and Ordnance Corps.

Damon Mosler, BWC TTA Subject Matter Expert

Mr. Mosler has been a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney for more than 25 years and is currently the Chief of the Economic Crimes Division. He has served as Chief of the Narcotics Division and Special Operations, as well as a Law Enforcement Liaison for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. He has taught on a range of topics, including case preparation, predator/club drugs, informant handling, Fourth Amendment law, and concerns about body-worn cameras. He is a subject matter expert on body-worn cameras for the BJA.

Dan Zehnder, BWC TTA Subject Matter Expert

Mr. Zehnder is the President of Principis Group Inc., a consulting and training company dedicated to helping police agencies, local governments, and technology providers find solutions to the immense challenges of implementing a BWC program. He is also a retired Police Captain with 22 years of service in the Las Vegas, Nevada, Metropolitan Police Department, an agency that is recognized as an innovation leader. He served as the department’s BWC Program Manager for more than two years. Dan has been involved with the BWC discussion at the national level, having served as a subject matter expert for the BJA, Department of Justice, as it developed an online BWC “Toolkit,” published in May 2015.

Arif Alikhan, BWC TTA Subject Matter Expert

Mr. Alikhan is Director of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy (formerly the Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing) and the highest-ranking civilian commander at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). He oversees LAPD’s Risk Management Legal Affairs Group, Public Communications Group, and Community Policing and Policy Group, as well as the following divisions/sections: Audit, Policies and Procedures, Risk Management, Legal Affairs, Community Relationship, Media Relations, and Government Liaison. He also serves as a Senior Policy Advisor to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. Chief Beck appointed Mr. Alikhan in October 2013, and he began serving with the LAPD on February 10, 2014.

Denise Rodriguez, BWC TTA Project Manager (Alternate)

Ms. Rodriguez is a Senior Research Scientist at CNA and serves as the Project Manager on BWC TTA. She has been with CNA for more than 10 years and has managed a number of projects, conducted assessments of police policy and procedures on police use of force, reconstructed police critical incidents and large-scale events, developed use-of-force policies, and developed law enforcement–specific after-action reports for a number of federal and local-level law enforcement agencies. Ms. Rodriguez has led, analyzed, and provided research support on police-involved critical incidents and collaborative reform initiatives for the Tampa, Florida, Police Department; the Baltimore, Maryland, Police Department; the Las Vegas, Nevada, Metropolitan Police Department; the Washington, D.C., Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency; the Spokane, Washington, Police Department; and the Fayetteville, North Carolina, Police Department. Ms. Rodriguez also managed CNA’s National Institute of Justice study on the impact of body-worn cameras in the Las Vegas, Nevada, Metropolitan Police Department.

Meetings with Metro Police, the Public Defender, the District Attorney and the Community Oversight Board are expected to start next week. The mayor's office reports that they will travel to Memphis in February with the DOJ team and a group of stakeholders to take a look at how body-worn cameras have been implemented there.

Moving forward in March, the DOJ group will be called back to Nashville for community meetings. That same month, the mayor's office insists that Metro Police will deploy 24 body cameras to their traffic enforcement unit that same month. 20 more body cameras will be rolled out of a "beta" testing program in May, per the mayor's office.