GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — New body cameras are helping the Greenwood Police Department better track the runs they go on.
The department has been using body cameras for two years. The new cameras are upgraded versions.
Body cameras are just one extra piece of equipment police outfit themselves with. Greenwood police will now have 53 new cameras. Through a five-year contract, the department will receive new cameras about every two and a half years and receive unlimited data storage. In addition, the cameras capture more than previous versions.
“They’re also a much wider field of view. So, if the camera is up here on the officer’s shoulder, like a lot of them wear, you will get most of this room in high definition video,” said Greenwood Assistant Police Chief Matt Fillenwarth.
The camera can also be paired with a smart phone, which allows officers to view what they are capturing as the camera is rolling.
“What really made our officers embrace it — we have had more officers cleared of false complaints,” Fillenwarth said.
The first year the department used the cameras, Fillenwarth says eight officers were exonerated after video proved their innocence.
Just last summer, Fillenwarth says officers shot Paul Kinnaman: “He [the officer] came out of the car with his taser. All the sudden, he was met with a firearm.”
Kinnaman survived, and officers actions were called into question. Because of video, the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
“We cannot alter these videos. We cannot delete these videos,” Fillenwarth said.
The cameras cost the Greenwood Police Department about $225,000 over the five-year contract — a price locals say Greenwood can’t afford not to pay.
“I think it’s a good investment,” said Jeff Burton of Edinburgh. He continued, “It protects them instead of just by their word, they can show it.”
Greenwood resident Steve Smith added, “I think they should that way there is not questions about what may have happened or who did what and who did it first. This way they’ll know.”
The department also spent around $78,000 on tasers. The tasers and body cameras work together. When the taser is turned on, the camera automatically turns on as well.
According to Fillenwarth, the money came from the department’s budget, as well as federal drug forfeiture cash.