OPELIKA, Ala. Captain Shane Healey of the Opelika Police Department says they hope to purchase body cameras after the first of October. Captain Healey says a grant will help them purchase more cameras in addition to the ones they were going to buy.
This would be the first time the department has used body cameras. Captain Healey says the cameras give more information about what’s going on in any given case. They currently have cameras in their vehicles that give the perspective of what takes place in the front and back of the car. The new body cameras will add a third perspective, and Captain Healey says perspective plays a big role in the body cameras.
“That camera is capturing video of a certain perspective, but that is two-dimensional when you watch it back on the television,” Captain Healey said. “It’s only seeing what that camera eye will see. The officer may be seeing things outside the view of that camera.”
Auburn Police have used body cameras for the past nine years. Their bike patrol officers were the first ones to wear them and now almost all in the department have them. Assistant Police Chief Will Mathews says the cameras are another valuable tool on the officer’s tool belt, but adds the different perspective can be limited.
“You have to be careful when you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket,” Assistant Police Chief Mathews said. “We like to use the body camera in combination with the in car video camera and the most important thing are the officer’s observations and statements of what happened.”
Ricky Holder was a police officer for 25 years. He now runs his own private investigative firm. He never had the chance to wear a body camera, but says they will help build trust. “The public is going to have more trust in the police department, because they can see what the officer is seeing,” Holder said. “I think the respect issue whenever there is a question of something an officer has done. If he’s got a body camera on, there’s his evidence.”