Local News

'So many advantages': Wake sheriff plans to outfit all deputies with body cams

Posted June 5, 2018 6:05 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:16 a.m. EDT

— Police body camera and dashboard camera video can show what happens in a tense situations where stories conflict – unless law enforcement doesn't have the cameras.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said it is time to change that.

"It can show what happened. It can show what led up to it. There's so many advantages," Harrison said.

He said it is not about if deputies with the Wake County Sheriff's Office will use them, but when they will start.

"We are always looking to see what works for us, what's the best bang for the buck as far as taxpayers' money," Harrison said.

The cameras themselves cost up to $1,000 apiece, but there are additional fees for storing the video, mounting the cameras and installing the software.

"The cameras are set up so that they activate automatically with the care if you turn the blue lights on," said Deputy Preston Clancy.

Currently, the Wake County Sheriff's Office has about 200 in-car cameras and are testing body cameras like the one a deputy wore on April 3 that captured the aftermath of an encounter between authorities and Kyron Hinton.

"We'll never get the perfect camera," Harrison said.

No camera shows everything - depending on how it is worn, things can get in the way, like hands.

Brian Robbins, with GovDirect, a company that works with agencies to provide officers with cameras, said he believes body cameras make interactions between law enforcement and the public safer.

"You also see people acting differently when you have body-worn cameras on in the public as well as the officers," Robbins said.

As of May 1, 30 Raleigh police officers have body cameras and new in-car cameras. Their goal is to have 200 by August.

All State Highway Patrol troopers have in-car cameras. They do not wear body cameras.

Wake County is not only looking to outfit its 100 or so patrol officers with cameras, but to have detention officers in their jails wear them as well, which puts the total number near 500.

WRAL News reached out to county commissioners about the funding for the cameras.