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Fayetteville police seek public input before donning body cameras

Posted December 1, 2015

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— The Fayetteville Police Department wants to hear from the public before finalizing a policy on the use of body cameras and then issuing the devices to its 300 officers.

Police Chief Harold Medlock said body cameras are just one tool his department will use to improve its relationship with the community. The video recordings can help both his officers and the public, he said.

"This is not going to be ultimately a version of 'Cops,'" Medlock said, referring to the Fox documentary television show that follows police officers on the beat.

The department has a draft policy on how the cameras will be used in the field, but the chief said he wanted public input on issues such as how long the videos would be retained and what the media and the public could access, before adopting a policy.

The first of three community forums on police body cameras was held Tuesday, and other forums are set for Dec. 8 and Dec. 15.

"We believe this is the best way for us to move forward as a department," Medlock said. "We also expect that, in the next couple of years, these (body cameras) will begin to replace the car cameras, that everything would be controlled from this device with a camera in the back seat of the car and a camera out the front dash."

The department has spent more than $1 million in grant money and other funds to outfit officers with cameras for the next five years.

"The bottom line, this is simply to record the interactions to help us be even better in our interactions with our public," Medlock said.


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