OPELIKA, Ala.- Thanks to votes by the Opelika City Council, the Opelika Police Department will receive body cameras and the Opelika Fire Department will receive a new fire simulator.
The city will purchase 60 body cameras for the department, and the department will purchase eight more due to a federal grant.
All patrol officers and a few other personnel will wear the cameras. The cameras will be compatible with the in-car units as they are made by the same company, WatchGuard Video.
Captain Bobby Kilgore said the cameras will give the officers a third perspective. Their in-car cameras provide two views, but they say having this third perspective will play a big role in building even more trust with the public.
“It makes us feel good to know that the city supports us this well, and they want us to have the public’s full trust and confidence, and this is just one more way to keep that,” Captain Kilgore said.
Captain Kilgore said they hope to have the cameras in by the end of the year, and he said the training process will be intense as they are anxious to roll out the cameras.
The Opelika Fire Department will receive a new fire simulator, which can be used when live burns are unable to be done.
The BullEx Attack Digital Fire Training System is a screen that creates a simulated fire and teaches the firefighters proper techniques of extinguishing a fire. Chief Byron Prather said they currently use a fire extinguisher simulator from the same company, and this new tool can be used by rookies and veterans.
He said it is getting difficult to find structures to do live burns in due to EPA restrictions. Chief Prather added that it is difficult to find a safe environment for training, but this simulator will give them more opportunities to fight fires and will be a safer method too.
“Anytime you go into a structure like that, you’re going into a IDLH atmosphere (immediate danger to life and health),” Chief Prather said. “So guys are in an environment where they can’t breathe the smoke, there’s very little oxygen there, there’s heat, there’s flames. It’s just a very hostile environment. This piece of equipment will give us the chance to train in that environment without those dangers looming over those guys heads as they were in the past.”
The fire departments hopes to receive the simulator in a couple of weeks.