CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 law enforcement agency has a new tool to protect their officers.
The Craighead County Sheriff's Department recently purchased body cameras for their deputy sheriffs.
Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd said having cameras is very new.
"We issued body cameras for the deputy sheriffs here in Craighead County," Boyd said. "We're about two weeks in to the trial process. So far it's been a real positive thing."
Boyd said they arrived at the decision to purchase the cameras in order to protect both their officers and citizens they work to serve.
"The reason we elected to go ahead and purchase the body cameras," Boyd said. "There is so much scrutiny on law enforcement right now. We've seen it nationwide with what's happening with our law enforcement community. So, I'm very proud of our law enforcement community here in Northeast Arkansas. Especially here in Craighead County. It's going to keep the sheriff's office more transparency in what we do and how we treat citizens of the county. And it's also protection for that officer from complaints that come in. It works both ways. Already, we've had a complaint about how an officer treated somebody. We were able to watch the footage of the body cam and basically found there's no complaint there."
Boyd said right now the deputies are getting used to having cameras.
"So far so good," Boyd said. "One of the problems with the body cameras is you have to physically turn them on to record. So, you have to keep reminding officers because they are brand new that if something happens you're going to have to reach up there and start recording. Sometimes, that's very tough to do in our line of work. If you pull up to a really frantic situation, a heated situation, the officer is looking for danger. They're looking for how many people are there. And so, it's not on your mind that you have to stop and make sure your recording is on. It's things like that. It's going to take time for the officers to get accustomed to them."
Boyd said they purchased enough cameras that they'll even be utilized in the courtrooms.
"Even our bailiff's in court will be wearing those cameras," Boyd said. "Of course, there are different guidelines that go with cameras in the courtroom that will be held to a more stringent policy."
Boyd said they have 42 body cameras.
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