Next week, Clinton police will become the latest department in the state to have its officers go live with body-cams.
Liz McGuire, spokeswoman for Axon — which makes body-cams, recently talked to Clinton residents about how body-cams offer residents and police a sense of security.
“They want to know what happened at the scene and having a camera gives them that ability,” McGuire says, “while at the same time protecting the officer both by being able to record what he experienced in the moment and also by having that camera as a tool on his tool belt as he goes out and interacts with people.”
People sometimes behave differently when they know they’re being recorded and McGuire says if they’re more well-behaved, it’s a win-win.
Clinton Police Chief Kevin Gyrion says he’s wanted body-cams since he took the job.
“It’s safer just from the perception of it,” Gyrion says. “It’s not going to change the officers’ technique or what they do or how they interact but it’s going to make it more visible to the public and it’s going to give us the opportunity to evaluate it periodically and look at it live, how they interact with the public.”
Gyrion says they will treat the public release of any video carefully by following the state’s open records laws.
“Public safety is paramount to everything we do,” Chief Gyrion says, “so it’ll be a case-by-case basis whether we release it or won’t release it. We’re going to follow the law.”
Clinton has allocated funds for the body cameras as part of package with a company that also makes tasers and other law enforcement-related products.
The city council approved spending nearly $200,000 over five years for cameras and tasers. Some officers have used the new body-cams on a trial basis to help insure proper procedures. All officers are to be using the cameras as of Monday.
By Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton