52 body cameras to outfit Conway police by August - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

52 body cameras to outfit Conway police by August

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - More than 50 body cameras will outfit Conway police officers in the next three months.

"It'll help us with complaints against officers," said Lt. Selena Small, of the Conway Police Department. "It's also going to help us with evidence in a case."

Conway leaders voted to move forward with a request made by Conway Chief of Police Reggie Gosnell at a meeting Monday.

Gosnell requested to order 52 body cameras at $31,000. The order includes an extra year warranty on the cameras.

The order will be placed this week. Leaders said the entire order should be received by August.

The city said it is still working on the policy development for the cameras, such as when the cameras will be worn, expectations and privacy issues.

"There's a lot of things that have to be worked out before the implementation and that's what the state is actually working on right now, so it'll be a uniform issue across the state of South Carolina," Lt. Small said in reference to the bill state legislators are considering that would require all officers in the state to wear body cameras.

The department also needs funding for a system to store all of the video and also software to help sort out private information that cannot be released through the Freedom of Information Act.

"You may be wearing cameras going into someone's home, different from our in-car cameras, so you've got some privacy issues that come up," Small said.

Supervisors currently have the power to review in-car data. Once these cameras are distributed, supervisors will review the footage.

North Myrtle Beach police have ten body cameras right now. If council approves, the plan is to get 60 more cameras this fall and also upgrade the server currently used to store dash cam video to store body camera video, said Pat Dowling, spokesperson for the city of North Myrtle Beach.

The following fiscal year, Dowling said the city hopes to get 35 more body cameras to completely cover its departments and also allow for 22 spare units.

Horry County Police Department has a request into council to fund a body camera pilot program in this year's budget, said Lt. Raul Denis. The department won't find out if the request will be honored until the budget is released this summer.

Myrtle Beach police and Surfside Beach police now have body cameras for all of their officers.

How do you feel about your interactions with police being recorded by a body camera? Take our poll and let us know!

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