PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Paragould Police Department is implementing the use of body cameras on its officers.
The use of body cameras has been the center of a national debate.
Do they help police or do they hurt them? When should the cameras be turned on and off? What is done with the endless hours of footage?
Even with the many questions, Paragould Police Department decided months ago the use of body cameras was a good idea.
Patrol Captain Phillip Faulkner said they decided to invest in body cameras because they were ready to progress with the times of technology.
While it isn't the most high tech system out there, Lieutenant Scott Snyder said the cameras are good quality. "The video has been pretty good all the way across the board with these, but the audio has been incredible," Snyder said.
He said cameras can get damaged in the field, but the audio makes up for that. "Even when we don't have really good video evidence, the audio has been off the scale," Snyder said.
While Snyder doesn't worry about his officers being irresponsible in the field, he said the body cameras keep officers and the public honest. He said many people act and respond differently when they know they are being recorded.
"We've had some use of force issues," Snyder said. "The camera clearly gave a vivid description of what exactly took place."
"We had an incident with an officer involved shooting and he had his camera on," Faulkner said. "It showed enough to show his actions were warranted."
At the end of an officer's shift, they plug their camera into a laptop and upload all of their video. The video is kept there for 30 days, unless it is needed for court proceedings.
Faulkner said it cost $6,000 to put cameras on all 47 patrol officers. While it was money out of the budget, Faulkner said it was worth the expense.
"I think it helps restore faith in the system because I have viewed videos," Faulkner said. "Officers are appropriate."
Since implementing the cameras in December, Snyder said PPD has seen far less complaints. "This negates any arguments or complaints that an officer was or was not," Snyder said.
Faulkner believes these body cameras are step in the right direction.
"We do our very best to progress, and when there is technology that's out there that's available that is cost efficient, and it will help not only the department but the whole community," Faulkner said.
As they continue to use the cameras and experiment, Snyder hopes they can invest in new and improved body cameras later this year.