Clanton Police issued body cameras to wear while on duty

Published 4:38 pm Friday, January 30, 2015

Police tactics have been at the center of national conversation recently as officers have come under scrutiny after incidents of violence.

While not necessarily a result of the controversial incidents, the Clanton Police Department has purchased body cameras for officers to wear while on duty, and will require their use.

The body cameras (above) can clip onto officers' uniforms in several different locations, and are controlled by a device usually worn on the belt.

The body cameras (above) can clip onto officers’ uniforms in several different locations, and are controlled by a device usually worn on the belt.

“The body camera discussion has been a hot ticket item recently…but was not a driving force behind our agency’s decision because we have been using video capturing devices for several years now,” CPD Capt. Neil Fetner said. “We decided to use the recent national conversations to ensure that we are doing everything possible to protect the integrity of our criminal investigations, our officers, police department and the city of Clanton from any potential negativity.”

The department purchased 35 cameras for $245 each, from the department’s discretionary fund.

“There is a wide variety of body cameras on the market today,” Fetner said. “We chose the Pro-Vision Body Camera based on two factors: functionality and costs.”

Many officers are already wearing the cameras, which can attach to various places on uniforms or less formal attire officers might wear.

Before they are assigned a camera, each officer goes through a short training session on proper usage.

“You don’t come to work if you don’t have your gun; don’t come to work if you don’t have your body camera on,” Fetner said during one such training session last week.

The video recording feature is started and stopped by a second device that is worn on the officer’s belt. The cameras are also capable of taking still photographs.

The cameras will be used in addition to video systems installed in patrol cars.

Officers will upload content from the cameras daily to a secure server, and it is then archived in case a need arises for it, such as during the prosecution of a criminal or to investigate a complaint leveled by a resident.

“The use of the body camera will certainly reduce the number of false allegations made by the public on the police throughout the law enforcement community,” Fetner said.

All the cameras should be distributed to full-time and part-time officers by early next week.

“If a member of the community recognizes that one of our officers is not wearing his or her body camera, we ask that they contact our office and make us aware of this incident,” Fetner said.