Surfside Beach Police Department starts wearing body cameras

Surfside Beach Police Department starts wearing body cameras

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Body cameras are a must-have part of many officer's uniform now. The cameras will be able to capture exactly how officers are responding to each call.

At the beginning of every shift, each Surfside Beach police officer will be reaching for their body camera.

Lt. Kenneth Hofmann says they've purchased a total of 23 body cameras, one for each of the 21 full-time officers, and two extra.

"And once the officer is ready to deploy it, it just attaches to the uniform, and it's clipped in place and it's now ready to go," Lt. Kenneth Hofmann said.

With the push of a button, the camera is on and rolling and the officer can look down to see the viewer screen to double check.

Though it may seem easy to put on, officers say it wouldn't be taken off easily.

"There's another plate inside the uniform, it's attached with magnets and pins to hold this into place," Lt. Hofmann added.

Once the cameras are in place, officers are ready to get out the door and roll on every call they can.

Hofmann says officers are expected to roll on any call, whether it be for domestic violence, a DUI, or an assault.

"And then the officer, when they come in at the end of the shift, we just remove the body camera from their uniform, and it will go down into this base," Hofmann explained.

Hofmann says from there, the videos will start uploading and the quality of both the video and sound, played a role in why they went with the Watch Guard body cameras.

"A lot of times we may have a video recording but the audio recording will be blurred out, by ambient noise, cars driving by and things like that and as you can hear from this.. the audio is so crystal clear," Hofmann explained.

Each recording is labeled by the officer and the video pops up with their name and badge number, making it easy to find.

Hofmann expects the cameras to be especially useful when more than one officer shows up to a scene, because more angles will be covered.

"If a resistance situation were to occur, we would have a good recording of everything that happened," Hofmann said.

Hofmann says each officer received face-to-face training on the body cameras.

While Hofmann says officers will make the best effort to record every call, if for any reason a situation gets out of hand so fast the officer can't roll on it, and it would be putting their life or someone else's in danger by stopping to do so, they will have to state exactly what happened and the reason why the camera couldn't be turned on in their report.

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