Police tout greater success with the help of body cameras - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Police tout greater success with the help of body cameras

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - One police department is touting major success since adding body cameras to the force.

All Darlington Police officers are required to wear a body camera when working a case. Investigators said body cameras have been a big asset when it comes to keeping everyone honest and collecting evidence.

“It protects the truth. Like I said before, when you go to a situation you have two sides to a story, because people tend to change and people tend to forget,” said Lieutenant Kim Nelson with the Darlington Police Department.

The department was one of the first in the Pee Dee to use body cameras. In fact, the department has been using them for seven years.

“It has cut down on our complaints tremendously. We don’t have that many complaints now because camera is there. The officer knows that camera is there and the public knows the officer has that camera on,” Lt. Nelson said.

Investigators said officers do not have to tell you you’re being recorded because state laws allows for recordings, as long as one person is aware the recording is taking place.

The department said the presence of the cameras has also stopped officer and civilian interactions from escalating. In addition, they help make quick arrests when it comes to Identifying a suspect.

“If you are not sure, the heat of the moment sometimes, that person has gotten away you come back and you’re trying to come up with a description of that individual and you can’t get things together, you can always go back to that camera footage,” Lt. Nelson said.

Police said the footage shot by the cameras can in no way be doctored or changed.

Even if an officer tries to delete video, several people are notified, which creates a system of checks and balances.

“It’s a good tool to have. Like I said, it protects the truth. Tasers protect lives, the camera protects truth,” Lt. Nelson said.

Every year, it costs the department about $9,000 to keep its body camera system up and running.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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