Surfside Beach Police order new body cameras - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Surfside Beach Police order new body cameras

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF)-The Surfside Beach Police Department has ordered body cameras for every officer. 

Police say the small cameras will help protect the officer as well as the members of the public they come in contact with.

"From a smaller use of force up to a use of deadly force, we want everybody to be able to see exactly what our officer was dealing with at the time," Lieutenant Kenneth Hofmann said.

Officers will put the 23 new body cameras on their chest to completely document what each officer sees and does.

"This will give them that comfort of knowing that they don't have to worry about, if I make this decision, is...everybody going to be second guessing me and you know arm chair quarterback? I've got the video to back up why I made that decision," Lt. Hofmann explained.

The cameras will record in high definition, but Lt. Hofmann stresses the importance of audio quality as well.

"Because that will document anything that is said, any of the events or exchanges of words between the officer or anybody that leads up to something that may be in question," Lt. Hofmann added.

Hofmann feels the use of body cameras will go a long way, especially because cruiser dash cams can only pick up so much.

"On a traffic stop, then that car camera will get that audio and video, and that's great, but there's a lot of incidents our officers are on and they're not in view of the camera, they could be on a domestic call and they can be inside someone's residence," Hofmann said.

Hofmann says the department has been looking into these cameras for a while and feels events nationwide, and at home, could be better documented.

Officers will be wearing them during large events like Bikefest.

"People can video the police and view our actions, but they need to know that we're also recording their actions," Lt. Hofmann said.

Hoffman believes these cameras will help maintain larger crowds like the crowds we see during Bikefest, especially because the cameras will be visible to the public and they will know they are being recorded. 

He plans to have officers trained on the cameras within 4 to 6 weeks depending on when they arrive. 

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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