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Hoke deputies to begin wearing lightweight cameras

Some Hoke County sheriff's deputies next week will begin wearing lightweight cameras that record their every move in an effort to improve community relations.

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RAEFORD, N.C. — As part of an effort to improve community relations, some Hoke County sheriff's deputies next week will begin wearing lightweight cameras that record their every move.

Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said Wednesday that he decided to put the $300 devices on his deputies for three reasons – public safety, officer safety and officer accountability.

Peterkin said his office has received complaints by officers that, when investigated, have been unfounded, and that the cameras have also captured deputies not interacting well with the public or not following departmental procedures in the field.

"When it's questionable, this type of technology takes the 'he-said, she-said' out of the question," he said. "So, that is why this is so important right now."

The cameras also allow law enforcement supervisors to review video for training purposes. Video can't be erased or tampered with and has to be downloaded to view.

The small devices attach to clothing and come with remote controls that officers use to start recording. They are quiet, but the audio- and video-recording capabilities are outstanding, said Sgt. Steven Lynn, who supervises the sheriff's office's school resource officer program.

"It's a positive for law enforcement," Lynn said.

School resource officers – as well as deputies assigned to special units – will be the first to begin wearing the cameras.

But Peterkin says he is planning to make the device standard issue.

"What I see is that the more video, the more evidence, the more proof you have, the better things are," he said.

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Gilbert Baez, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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