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In-car cameras installed in Durham sheriff's patrol vehicles

Posted September 11, 2014
Updated September 22, 2014

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— The Durham County Sheriff’s Office installed dashboard and backseat cameras in 31 of its 40 patrol vehicles.

Deputies will also be outfitted with microphones that can capture audio while away from the vehicle.

The cameras are activated when the vehicle's emergency lights are activated, when the vehicle goes over 85 mph or is involved in a wreck. Deputies can also record manually through the camera or microphone.

Video from the cameras are wirelessly downloaded to a secure server and kept for 30 days unless used in a criminal case.

"It's definitely much needed and it's helped us tremendously," said Durham County deputy Antoine Harris, whose patrol vehicle has the cameras.

Cameras will be installed in the remaining patrol vehicles in the near future, the agency said.

“In-car cameras are an important way to advance law enforcement training efforts and promote transparency,” Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement. “I am excited that technology offers ways to evaluate our actions as we embrace innovations in policing and strive to provide exceptional service.”

The cameras come as law enforcement has been asked to be more transparent in the wake of an August police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., that left an unarmed 18-year-old dead and caused civil and racial unrest.

Requests for more police transparency were also made in Durham after a 17-year-old shot himself in the head while handcuffed in the back of a Durham police car last year.

The patrol vehicle’s backseat camera was off at the time, police said. Now cameras in Durham police patrol cars are automatically activated seconds after the vehicle is started.

In addition, a number of North Carolina police departments currently use body cameras for officers, including Greensboro, Carthage, Greenville and the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office. Durham police and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office are considering using body cameras.

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office’s vehicle cameras were approved last year and installed within recent months at a cost of about $170,000, said Brian Jones, the department’s director of operations and development.

"That's a big benefit, that the public sees that we are open about what we do," he said.

43 Comments

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  • less_govt_is_better_govt Sep 23, 2014

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    Lol. Nice articulation there.

    If they try and bully you into consenting to a search of your house no you do not have to comply. Stop contorting the law to your authoritarian interpretation of your authority.

    Sounds like you need a body camera yourself...

  • Bullcity34 Sep 23, 2014

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    If police get a call about you or stop you for a reason you actually do have to comply. Guess your another wannabe lawyer

  • 678devilish Sep 23, 2014

    this will certainly not deter any crime. but it will help the officers on their word or the other person in what happen and who did what.

  • Jeff Freuler Sep 23, 2014
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    Nothing wrong with cameras in LE cars. Based on my experience and despite popular belief in some circles administrators are able to dismiss more frivolous/false accusations than confirm true accusations.

  • Bullcity34 Sep 23, 2014

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    Wish I could join you However wral is refusing to post my comments. Keep fighting for the police disgusted because wral will not

  • jwsawyer Sep 23, 2014

    We need them in all police cars. The police actually believe that whatever "instructions" they give someone, the person must immediately comply. Where in the world did that come from?

  • Bullcity34 Sep 23, 2014

    Wral refuses to post my comments because it will debunk all of this anti police bashers. This is the 4th time. Wral liberal policy at work

  • Red Sox Nation Sep 23, 2014

    disgusted2010 - I know that you think you're right and all, and you are only complaining about the "anti law enforcement", but I'd hate to break it to you that you are just as blind as the group you are allegedly bashing against. In my comment I specifically stated that all cops are not bad, but some are. Then you went on spewing the same old tired rhetoric about me being anti police, that I bash on anyone that supports police and so forth. You do realize that you are doing exactly what you are accusing me of doing. One of the best things that I was ever taught was to not be in such a hurry for a rebuttal when someone says something. Instead of being so intent on proving you point, take a moment to comprehend what someone is saying. I have had personal experiences of officers lying, and a camera would have proven me correct. Consider yourself lucky that you haven't had this encounter. You are not as all knowing as you like to think you are.

  • less_govt_is_better_govt Sep 23, 2014

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    Exactly. Law enforcement is the one profession where you can make a split second decision and at most be found liable on civil grounds.

    Courts have ruled LEOs do not give up their constitutional rights while on the job. They can shoot if in fear of their life. If a citizen is approached by plain clothes gets in fear and defends via shooting they are charged.

    Remember it is all based on actions and emotions. Police can use any language they please and are expected to be truthful about their language in court if they can recall. Cameras do recall.

  • ianeyre Sep 23, 2014

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    What do police have to hide? That is what the law and order crowd always tells people when they complain about government surveillance...

    If you have nothing to hide being watched shouldn't be a problem...the problem is that many police officers do have something to hide. It may not be them beating people or taking bribes, but like all humans, police cut corners when expedient and obey rules better when they are being watched.

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