Ithaca, N.Y. — The city is making swift progress on an initiative to place body cameras on all Ithaca police officers and should have the new policy implemented within a few months, Mayor Svante Myrick said at City Hall Wednesday night.

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Myrick added that the city has received presentations from three possible vendors for the cameras and that Ithaca received a $20,000 grant from an anonymous donor to pay for them.

“We’re a couple short months away,” he said.

Myrick emphasized that this was just a piece in the city’s response to concerns about community policing.

“I’ll say, too, that we can’t stop there,” he said, citing an anti-racial profiling training recently attended, he said, by almost all city police officers.

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Myrick added that a program will soon be announced by Chief John Barber to bring police officers together with young people in the community.

“We are a far cry from Ferguson in a lot of ways,” Myrick said, citing lower unemployment in Ithaca and a police department more reflective of its constituents, “(But) all it takes is for one thing to go wrong to find us in that same situation.”

Myrick’s comments were followed by those of Alderperson JR Clairborne, who spoke about his reaction to the Eric Garner case.

“I really do feel numb about it,” Clairborne said.

“The one thing this really shows for me is that we really need to have earnest discussions.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.