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Photo by Andrew James

Officers with the UNC Charlotte Police Department will soon wear body cameras during their patrols.

The police department is following the lead of many departments across the nation and requiring officers to wear body cameras while on-duty.

Lieutenant Brian Thomas serves as watch commander and emergency management coordinator for the department and said the department has been working to get body cameras for almost a year.

“These are the latest and greatest in police technology,” said Thomas. “They allow us to videotape wherever we go.”

Officers will turn the cameras on anytime they are coming into contact with someone on their patrol. After their shift, the video will be downloaded and kept for permanent record.

“You just flick a switch. It will record every single bit of the audio and video of any confrontation or even altercation we may run into,” said Thomas.

He stressed that these cameras protect everyone, not just the officers.

“This is a tool that protects everybody,” said Thomas. “I don’t want you to think that this goes out to protect the police because facts never protect one party or another, facts protect everyone.”

UNC Charlotte student Prince Moody is pleased with the department’s new policy.

“I hate to say it, but there are some crooked cops out there,” Moody said. “And lots of times it’s their words against ours unless there is some video footage.”

But, Moody hopes the department explains their reasoning behind purchasing the cameras.

“What is the real reason behind them wearing body cameras?” he said. “Is it actually for our own benefit?”

The department plans to use the body cameras once all officers complete training, which could be as soon as this week.

 

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