Shreveport Police Department testing out body worn cameras
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
Shreveport police are doing an experimental run with new technology called "body cameras". The small video cameras that can be pinned to an officer's lapel, built into their radio, or even mounted to their sunglasses.
On any given night in Downtown Shreveport, the Shreveport police officers patrolling the streets look like your typical officers, but take a closer look and you'll see, they have an extra set of eyes and ears camouflaged on their uniforms in the form of a body camera. According to Public Information Officer Cpl. Marcus Hines, about 10 officers assigned to the downtown night beat have been testing this small video cameras. They were given the cameras because they are more likely to have encounters with individuals late at night in Downtown. "It's trial and error hopefully we'll be able to find a product that meets all those needs," said Cpl. Hines.
The technology is brand new, that's why Hines said they're taking time to work out the bugs. But even with the quirks, he says the upsides outweigh the glitches. "When you have that camera out there, we have an obligation to the citizens to make sure they are being as transparent as they can to let them see what's going on while we're out doing our jobs, as well as protect our officers," Hines explained.
Proponents for the cameras say they minimize citizen complaints against officers and can record where dash cams can't. Critics question the value of the cameras that can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. But for Shreveport native Jocephes Myles, his tax dollars footing the bill isn't a problem.
"It kind of gives the police a voice as far as saying I didn't do anything wrong, everything was done by the books and there is video tape to actually prove what they are saying," said Myles.
Downtown store owner James Gilcrease said he can see both sides of the argument, but admits he doesn't like the thought of being recorded by the cameras. "I'd be very weary about it, I don't know why. There's something about seeing the whole thing I guess, you could say," Gilcrease explained.
Hines says in the future, the cameras could become as common as two-way radios. But for now, the experimental run continues. "We'll see how goes, if it is something our department is comfortable going with, then you may see additional body cameras on the streets of Shreveport," said Hines.
The department isn't done testing, according to Hines, in October they will get a whole new shipment of different types of body cameras to test out.