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Vinton purchasing high-tech police body cameras, upgraded car cameras

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:16 PM EDT
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VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) - For the first time, police officers in Vinton will wear body cameras out on patrol, with multiple high-tech, wide lenses to capture an emergency encounter from every angle.

“This is a wonderful opportunity. This is technology that is out there and technology that communicates,” says Chief Fabricio Drumond of the upgrade he says has been in the works for months.

“When an officer, should he activate his emergency equipment, meaning on his handheld radio, it will automatically trigger cameras to start recording both the car cameras, radios, and body-worn cameras,” explains Chief Drumond. “We already have Motorola radios that we use to communicate, so all three pieces of equipment will synchronize to each other and basically be one single ecosystem that creates multiple vantage points.”

Vinton’s Town Council members unanimously approved the resolution to purchase 16 of the body-worn and in-car cameras, including installation and accessories.

The cost adds up to $74,159, which will come from criminal justice grants, the town’s capital improvement projects fund, and the police department’s collected asset forfeiture money.

Chief Drumond says the cameras will improve transparency and safety for Vinton’s citizens, and the officers wearing them.

“It’s just another set of eyes just like our community members. This is another camera that is willing to capture things that we can collect data or we can look at and review later in date or share with the public if need be.”

Chief Drumond says he plans on giving a formal demonstration of how the equipment works to the town council and to WDBJ7 once the cameras are in the hands of the police department in the next few weeks.

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