LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) – All Lawrence police officers are now equipped with body cameras.
The department is spending $60,000 a year on the new initiative.
This program first launched back in Aug., and after a few hiccups it’s now fully implemented. They say the goal is to reduce complaints from suspects and to enhance public safety.
“There’s an element of our society that is dangerous, that are predatory and they need to be stopped,” said Chief David Hofmann of the Lawrence PD.
Chief Hofmann says hundreds of videos have already been recorded.
“It’s very solid evidence when you see it on the screen and you can hear the voices and hear what’s being said and you can see for yourself,” he said.
He says the cameras should be on any time an officer is doing an official activity. Whether while speaking with someone on the street or in active pursuit.
If an officer starts running, the cameras automatically start rolling. They can also be activated by the officer.
The cameras are equipped with GPS tracking, so 911 operators and other officers always know where the officer is.
They say this can also help if there’s an emergency during the call.
It will also alert other officers if the officer is down.
“Back in the 80’s, I trained with a revolver, and I never thought technology would get to this point. It’s pretty amazing,” said Sgt. Matt Miller, who’s been a police officer for 25 years.
The cameras are essentially a cell phone that are sewn into the officers’ vests.
State law requires all video be stored for at least 190 days. Lawrence is keeping its video in an encrypted cloud.
“I think we really enjoy a high amount of trust and confidence right now in the Lawrence community as it is. All this is going to do is enhance that,” said Hofmann.
While the department is required to keep the video for 190 days, it’s possible the public will never see it. Under state law, they can withhold the video if it’s deemed not to be in the public interest to release it.