The Columbus Police Department out of Mississippi is trying something new. Chief Tony Carleton said the department has deployed 50 police-worn cameras in its patrol division.
Officers wear the cameras on their breast pocket or lapel and activate them at any point there may be “enforcement action”. Once off duty, the officers place their cameras on a docking station that downloads the recording to a server provided by TASER for $9,000 a year.
“It’s been a learning curve for our officers, as far as getting used to using them and learning how to download video,” Carleton said. “The biggest challenge has been making sure we have the proper policy in place so that we deploy these cameras in a manner that’s going to assist the department and the citizens of Columbus.”
Nearby, the Starkville Police Department deployed body cameras in 2014. Chief Frank Nichols claims cameras are working wonders. “I’d say it’s cut down our complaints (against officers) by about 90 percent,” he said.
Overall, the body cameras eliminate many questions judges and juries have for officers. Filing reports at the end of a shift are also more accurate as officers can review the video shot at the scene.