Local News

Law enforcement groups argue against body cameras

Posted March 9, 2016 10:48 p.m. EST

— Many law enforcement agencies across the country are using body cameras and Wednesday, some groups representing sheriffs and police officers in North Carolina told lawmakers the device should not be mandated by the state.

Body cameras are a big topic of conversation for many local agencies. Raleigh is considering them and Durham is in the final stages of approving the devices.

Wednesday, a group of representatives from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association and the Association of Police Chiefs wanted to make it clear to state legislators that no agency should be forced to adopt the devices.

Eddie Caldwell, a spokesman for the sheriffs’ group, said body cameras are an expensive undertaking that each agency would be responsible for funding. For that reason, he said the implementation of body cameras should be up to the heads of each department, not the General Assembly.

“We don’t have legislation that mandates use of guns, cars, handcuffs, pepper spray, Taser, or any other equipment that law enforcement has,” said Caldwell. “That’s what the head of agencies are elected or appointed to manage for their agencies.”

Caldwell also said law enforcement leaders prefer deciding for themselves the rules on how and when cameras and recordings should be used.

Caldwell said Wednesday’s meeting went well and the subcommittee tasked with addressing body cameras was receptive to their suggestions.