Police department explains advantages of body cams - WNEM TV 5

Police department explains advantages of body cams

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LOWELL, MI (WNEM) -

Lowell Police Detective Gordy Lauren has been with the department for six years. In that span, he's pulled over plenty of people for plenty of reasons. But now, when he steps up to the car, every second of the interaction is being recorded.

"Going 38 in a 25 mile per hour zone," said Lauren.

About a year ago, officers were equipped with body cameras, which is a camera attached to their uniform.

"Basically that records everything that we do," said Lauren.

Lauren said in the past, when cases land in court, it turned into a case of he said, she said. He said the cameras solve this problem.

"The camera doesn't lie," said Lowell Police Chief Steve Bukala.

Bukala said the cameras help maintain, and even improve, his department's success.

"I think it reinforces the trust that we've already had," said Bukala.

The video cameras catch up to four hours of continuous video. Police officers who use them say they're a great tool to make sure they're held accountable and also making their police reports a lot easier at night. The chief said the body cams also provide critical evidence.

"For what we do, this works great for us!" said Bukala.

Detective Lauren, who uses the camera for traffic stops and interviews of suspects, believes other law enforcement agencies will begin transitioning to this technology.

"It puts you right in the scene. I mean you're actually seeing what went on," said Lauren.

Bukala said he believes an officer wearing a body cam may have helped with the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, when a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man.

"I don't know if it would have solved that entire problem, but it would have been a point of view for the officer on why the shooting took place," said Bukala. "I can say that it would have been a helpful piece of evidence."

As far as cost, he said they're cheaper than dash cams, and run about $400 a piece.

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