Local law enforcement testing first of its kind body camera

Published 4:25 pm Thursday, May 5, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

The Clanton Police Department and Chilton County Sheriff’s Office have been selected to test an advanced new body camera through the 19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators with the 19th Judicial Circuit have begun using the cameras also.

Terri Connell of Chilton County had connections with NetOps Consulting International and was part of getting the 19th Judicial Circuit District selected for using the equipment during this finalization of development.

C.J. Robinson, chief deputy district attorney for the 19th Judicial Circuit, said the new camera system is “cutting edge” technology that addresses current issues.

“This is the first time in the United States of America that this technology has been used,” Robinson said. “We are proud to be part of a proof of concept team to give feedback and kind of help this product move along.”

The Nexx360, manufactured in South Korea, is a leap in the technology of body cameras that allows video to be taken from multiple directions, not just the direction an officer is facing. The Nexx360 is a system of four cameras worn on an officer’s shoulders solving issues with current body cameras that have a limited field of vision.

Video is saved to an SD card, but is also available live to be accessed by law enforcement in other parts of the county. Footage is also uploaded to secure digital cloud storage.

CPD Chief Erick Smitherman and Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon said they were honored to be a part of the project.

Smitherman described the Nexx360 as “some of the most advanced technology” he had ever seen.

“We can actually view this video from a remote location, like our phones, (911) dispatch center, wherever,” Smitherman said.

Shearon said having the ability to see what is behind an officer in real time is a great benefit.

There are four camera units being tested by CPD. Smitherman said the devices will be rotated so each officer gets a chance to use it. CCSO is testing four as well.

Officers are giving feedback on comfort using the device, battery life and other usability issues.

Each law enforcement leader present said they were excited to be a part of the project.

Robinson said the 15 yearlong working relationship between the three law enforcement leaders made them “uniquely situated to be the perfect group FOR this.”

NetOps Consulting International in Montgomery is “the exclusive distributor” for Nexx360, Lee Maurer of NetOps said.

Robinson said video footage from these improved body cameras would provide a better view and “the full context” of what happened at a scene to future Grand Jury groups.