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Athens city council discusses police body cameras and e-scooters

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City Council discusses changes to parking licenses for street vendors. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

City council discussed major topics such as APD body cams as well as e-scooter regulations and policies

Athens City Council met Monday to discuss body cameras for the Athens Police Department and e-scooter regulations, among other committee discussions.

The City and Safety Services Committee discussed adding body cameras to the Athens Police Department.

“We’re at a place now where we think we have a valid approach, so we’re going to seek legislation to authorize the program,” Andy Stone, service safety director for the city administration office, said.

Body camera use has been discussed in previous meetings, with major concerns raised about public record law and how body camera footage would be stored and handled, Stone said.

The committee is seeking funds to pay for the cameras via a five year contract with Axon Technologies and to purchase equipment that interacts with the cameras, such as having the body camera activate automatically when an officer uses a taser.

Another major topic at the meeting was the regulation of up and coming e-scooters and bicycles in the city.

The Planning and Development Committee discussed creating regulations to structure how e-scooters companies will operate in the city.

“It’s better to regulate and participate in the movement, rather than not allow them at all,” Stone said.

Certain regulations and policies would require e-scooter companies to register with the city of Athens, as well requiring geo-fencing — creating a perimeter where scooters can and cannot be operated — within certain areas of town for the safety of pedestrian and scooter riders, according to the Planning and Development Committee Members.

A draft by the same committee included regulations on definitions, safety requirements,  and operations of maintenance among other policies that will be discussed and changed as the date to approve it is scheduled, according to Stone.

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