Daleville police add cameras to uniform
Daleville police pack radios, protective vests, lethal weapons, skilled ears and eyes and now, an eye that never blinks.
"You're looking at the Wolfcam body camera," said Daleville Police Chief James King.
With a Homeland Security grant, Daleville police bought seven small video cameras - a new layer of protection that rides atop the bulletproof vest.
"It's accountability and since we've had them, it's actually cut down on our complaints," said the chief.
If a citizen is mistreated, it's captured on camera. If an officer is falsely accused, they are protected.
Like recently, when a woman complained an officer was rude and wrongly ticketed her for her dog running loose, but "we looked at the video, we watch the dog run out in front of our officer's car," King said.
On urgent runs, it can record pursuits and what happens when the officer leaves his car and goes into woods or a house? Car dashboard cams costing 10 times more cannot do that.
Also, in rural areas where his officers are often alone, King says, "with a lot of the police shootings, if something did happen to one officer out there, this camera being on, it will at least give us a suspect and somewhere to start."
Because the video could be evidence, the chief cannot show us real incidents. So we did a simulation with Ofc. John Jett.
"You blew that stoplight down the corner of 32," the officer said.
I say, "I don't think I did."
"Yeah, you ran it," he said.
Then, I mouth off.
"You know, why don't you guys go after real criminals?" then when I get out of my car and say, "I might have to make a complaint with your chief about this."
If I did complain, that chief can look at the stop.
Based on our simulation, King says, "What I would conclude, the person my officer stopped was very rude to him." And he says the officer "was very professional and did not raise his voice."
"If that's what they have to do anymore," said motorist Cory Mangold, "Take care of themselves and keep an eye on people."
"It's protection for the citizen and protection for police," said Susan Welch.
King is applying for another Homeland Security grant to pay for seven more body mounted cameras. He wants all his officers outfitted.