New police body cameras help record scenes from all angles

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WDBJ7) - The Rocky Mount Police Department is investing in the safety and accountability of its officers.

The department was recently awarded a grant that allowed them to buy three new body cameras, which will be used by officers out on patrol.

“You never know, what you’re day may end up like,” Officer Jeff Sanders said.

To prepare for the unexpected, the department has added new technology to help capture a scene from every angle.

“It resolves any issues of integrity. You can’t dispute the facts of what was on a camera. It’s a great resource,” Investigator Justin Smith said.

The $3,728 grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services allowed the department to buy the three new Watch Guard body cameras and new magnetic mounts for the gear.

“I applied for it because it was a no brainer, we needed the equipment,” Smith said.

Now, officers only need to flip on their blue lights and the new gear syncs up with the car camera and any other body cameras at the scene. It virtually gives officers a 360-degree recording of a scene.

“It’s almost a saving grace,” Chief Ken Criner said. ”I can come in the morning and pull up on the computer and say this officer has done nothing wrong and pass it along to the commonwealth attorney.”

The commonwealth attorney said footage from body cameras can potentially save some tax payer money by streamlining a case.

“In many instances it eliminates the need for the judge, and the clerks and the lawyers to sit through a factual dispute component of the case,” Commonwealth Attorney A.J. Dudley said.

Officers said the new equipment gives them peace of mind, knowing it’ll capture whatever happens out on patrol.

“I think it would help ensure my safety and make sure I go home every night because that is my goal,” Officer Sanders said.

In total, the department has eight body cameras assigned to officers and four extra body cameras available. This now allows every officer on rotation to be able to wear a camera while they are on duty.

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