SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/ KMSS)-Police Departments across the nation are supplying officers with body cameras. In hopes of improving accountability for both citizens and officers. We offer an in-depth look at what it will take to offer body cameras for all Shreveport Police Officers.
Dash and body camera footage like this helped put two Shreveport Police Officers behind bars.
One charged with malfeasance in office, the other charged with simple battery, for their actions during a street fight on Devaughn Street back in May.
The cameras also show the dangerous situations police officers encounter on a daily basis. Like this dramatic video captured in Florida, of a traffic stop confrontation, in which a deputy ends up getting dragged.
Dash and body camera footage are becoming apart of the norm for police departments across the nation. Used as evidence to uncover the truth.
“Anytime you have a video to go with an officers testimony and reports. It can be a positive thing. It shows exactly what happened and it can help to clear up any inconsistencies between what the officers say and what citizens report,” said Ben Raymond, Shreveport Police Chief.
Currently, 539 officers work for the Shreveport Police Department, but only 80 officers wear body cameras.
“Since you have a small number of body cameras in the proportion of officers we assign them to specialized units that don’t generally complete their tours of duty in a patrol a car,” said Raymond.
With the simple touch of a button, these cameras become a second pair of eyes, recording your every move. But Police Chief Raymond says cameras don’t always tell the full story.
“A camera doesn’t think, a camera doesn’t have 360-degrees of insight as an officer does. So the camera pointed at me is not taking in everything you’re taking in,” said Raymond.
Both the police department and city agree each officer needs a camera, but it’s the cost that is slowing down the process.
“What’s hard to determine at this point is how much money we’re going to spend in storage. So I can tell you a camera is about five-hundred dollars. What we can’t tell you is how much storage we’re going to use,” said Raymond.
Shreveport City Councilman Willie Bradford looks to equip each officer with a body camera and says the council will work on adding it into the city’s general fund for 2020.
“We should be able to put enough money in the budget this year, so we’ll be able to equip all of our officers with body cameras from this point on,” said Bradford.
As for Raymond, he says he looks forward to receiving the funding to get the equipment needed.
“There’s still a lot of questions that need to be answered. The primary one exactly how much it’s going to cost,” said Raymond.
When they do begin purchasing cameras. They plan to buy them over the course of three years, so they all don’t go bad at the same time.