Hope Mills police ahead of curve on body cameras
Posted May 4, 2015 12:47 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2015 3:44 p.m. EDT
Hope Mills, N.C. — After a series of incidents in which people have died in police custody or officers have shot suspected criminals, cities, counties and states nationwide are rushing to examine buying body-worn cameras for their law enforcement officers.
The Hope Mills Police Department is ahead of the curve, putting them on 42 of its officers in February. Department officials requested the cameras last year, and town commissioners picked up the $12,000 tab.
Police Capt. David Servie said Monday that the body cameras will supplement video taken from dashboard cameras inside patrol vehicles.
"This is just a natural progression of documenting officer interactions with the public," Servie said. "You lose the perspective of what the officer is seeing once the officer moves out of view of the in-car camera. So, what this does is it gives a camera perspective of the officer wherever the officer goes."
Officer Claudony Joseph has been using his body camera since it was issued.
"People tend to be on their best behavior when they are being recorded," Joseph said. "I haven't had any issue when anybody since I've had this camera."
Officers are required to push a button to start the camera every time they interact with the public during traffic stops or other police work, Servie said.
The video will be available to the public just like any other police report, except when footage is needed as evidence in criminal cases, he said. Using the cameras will increase the department's transparency to the public, he said.
"It lets the public know that we're not afraid to put out there what our officers do," he said. "We're proud of our officers. They do a great job."