The cameras are used to gather audio and visual evidence to assist in the prosecution of criminal cases, said Chief Reuben Shortnacy. “These cameras also promote officer safety and provide corroboration of the officer’s testimony,” Shortnacy noted. “We view them as an additional tool to document police activities and to deter inappropriate behavior.” The police department has been studying the issue of body-worn cameras for the past 15 months, even field testing certain cameras. Shortnacy said that while in-car video is very helpful, it does not capture video beyond the front view of the patrol unit. However, having the ability to capture video evidence in various situations is beneficial to both the police department and to the community. The police department plans to purchase 17 of the new video cameras at a cost of $27,504. The cameras are Coban Focus units that Shortnacy said are well designed and meet the needs of the officers in the field. They will use the same infrastructure and data storage as the current Coban in-car video, eliminating the need to purchase data storage. Funding for the purchase will come from the department’s Citizen’s Options for Public Safety (COPS) budget. These are federal funds provided to the police department each year.
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