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Politics & Government

Dover City Council approves budget amid concerns over body cameras

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Delaware Public Media
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Dover City Council approved the city’s 2021 budget Monday night.

 

The spending plan - initially written before the COVID-19 pandemic and protests about racial justice - faced some questions before the final vote.

One specific concern raised was the lack of funding to purchase body cameras for the Dover Police Department. 

Dover PD is one of the few departments in the First State still without body cameras, joining Delaware State Police and the Wilmington Police Department.

 

Mayor Robin Christiansen says the state is considering covering the cost of body cameras.

“Through the Attorney General's office and the Governor's office, we’re going to accomplish a statewide purchase of those body cams, that seems to be one of their initiatives.”

But Councilman Tanner Polce says he’s feeling a little deja vu, noting the state legislature previously considered adding body camera funding, but rejected the notion.

Councilman Timothy Slavin offered an emotional speech near the end of the meeting.

“Dover is on a wave of change. That change is not being driven by city government, that change is being driven by a new generation of voices. My “no” vote on the budget is to acknowledge those voices and that we continue the dialogue on race and equity in Dover.”

Despite the concerns, the budget passed by a 7-2 vote.