LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) – All officers in Lawrence will soon be wearing body cameras.
The city launched the program Tuesday.
The program rolled out with two officers wearing the cameras.
They said if nothing else it will increase accountability and transparency.
“It protects us and it protects the citizens as well,” said Officer Devin Randle, one of the officers chosen to wear the cameras.
The cameras are zipped into the officers’ vests and there’s a peak hole for the lens.
The cameras will activate when they turn their light bar on, unlock their gun, or simply get out of the car.
They can also manually start recording by using a watch-like device.
“You can press play and pause to record and stop recording, if I were to take off running it has an accelerometer in it will start generating the recording,” said Randle.
“When they’re out on the traffic stops, any kind of critical incident those cameras will be recording and they will be saving the data,” said Chief David Hofman.
They said the cameras will be most useful in active situations.
“We have to make snap decisions and when we’re on the job and we have to make those snap decisions, it’s going to show the public what we’re seeing in real time,” said Randle.
The cameras and software are costing the department $60,000 a year. They have unlimited data storage in an encrypted cloud.
Under state law, the data must be saved for at least 190 days.
The department can deny the release of the video if they say it’s not in the public interest.
In cities like Milwaukee releasing police video has lead to protests, but Officer Randle said for him it’s about remaining above board.
“If you’re treating people the way that they should be treated you have nothing to worry about,” said Randle.
Hofman says he’ll have conversations with the officers wearing the cameras over the next few weeks and hopes to have all 44 officers equipped by the beginning of October.