Police Body Cams Already in Use in Biloxi

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As a result of the controversial deaths in Ferguson, Missouri and New York, the President is calling for more police to wear body cameras that record their interactions with civilians. Tuesday, News 25 caught up with the Biloxi Police Department, where body cameras are already in use.

The purpose of police wearing body cameras is to bridge the mistrust between law enforcement and the public. While more police departments across the country are moving toward the use of body cameras, the Biloxi Police Department has been using recording devices for three years now. Major Jim Adamo of the Biloxi Police Department says, "I think the benefits are just wonderful in the fact that they allow people to see, specifically us in management, see what leads up to an officer’s course of action."

The officers turn the camera on as soon as they leave their vehicle. If someone comes into the station with a complaint, it allows the police and the person filing the complaint an opportunity to go back and see exactly what happened. Adamo also says, "They’re perspective in an incident might be different from ours and it allows us to come to a common ground and understanding of actually what happened at a particular scenario.”

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Police officers certainly have the right to videotape encounters, but what right do civilians have to videotape police officers with something as simple as their cell phone? Scott Pietrowski, an attorney, says, "A citizen has the absolute right to videotape police officers out in public in the performance of their duties."

Major Adamo says their body cameras ensure officers act appropriately, helping to avoid situations like in Ferguson or Staten Island. Adamo closes, "We just automatically assume no matter what that we’re being recorded. That the basic premise you have to work from every day."

Right now, the cameras Biloxi uses are as small as thumb drives with limited storage. The police department wants to arm 100% of their officers with better cameras with additional memory and features, such as infrared to be used at night.

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