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Springfield Won't Cut Budget For Police Body Cams

Aubrey Bulkeley

Funding for the Springfield Police department to wear body cameras remains on the budget for 2021, after a city council meeting Monday evening. The decision comes as protests against police brutality in the Eugene-Springfield area head into another week.

The recommendation to potentially ax the long-awaited 350-thousand dollar program came from a budget team, not Springfield Police Chief Richard Lewis, said Financial Director Nathan Bell. Because of COVID-19’s impact on the budget, departments were asked to make a reduction of 3 percent. This came out to about 841-thousand dollars across the board.

Mayor Christine Lundberg, who opposed defunding body cams, said they’ll need to make tough decisions now that total reductions are just under half a million. ($491,000).

“But our job is to pick the priorities for what the city services are going to be, so this will be a trade-off in terms of services, but this is important enough that we need to deal with the situation locally that goes all the way to nationally and international.” Said Lundberg.

Chief Lewis said officers could be outfitted with body-worn cameras in early 2021.

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