Officers for the Statesboro Police Department began using body cams around November 2016 to serve as a reference for problems that arise during an officer’s shift.
The body cam footage is uploaded on the police servers and arranged on a step-by-step basis.
The cams are to be activated when an incident occurs while on duty, as they approach a vehicle for a traffic stop or right before they exit their car, Madison Warren, community information specialist for Statesboro PD, said.
If officers stop a vehicle, the body cams should be deactivated after the incident has ended.
Before Statesboro PD officers can be issued body cams, they must be trained on how and when to use them.
“When we hire a certified officer, they go through a couple of weeks of what we call ‘rookie school,'” Warren said. “[This is] where they learn our department’s policies and procedures so that they can become familiar with how we do things. Once they have completed that, they would be issued a variety of equipment, and body cameras would be included in that also.”
The department does not currently employ someone whose job is to watch body cam footage uploaded to the server.
“If there was [someone], they would never be able to take a day off because their officers work 24 hours a day,” Warren said.
Warren said the body cams are only accessed and viewed when a situation occurs during an officer’s shift.
Warren gave an example of proper body cam protocol. A person was pulled over and called the department trying to complain about the officer, saying that they cursed at them and behaved unprofessionally.
That body cam footage was then viewed to determine what happened so that appropriate action could be taken.
Body cams are not to be used where a reasonable expectation of privacy is required, or when officers are undercover or talking to someone who is undercover. This prevents officers from revealing the identity of undercover personnel.
Body cams are not to be used when on break, while in the emergency room, or when attending a personal evaluation.
“If the body cams are to be used constantly, they would be a waste of computer memory,” Warren said.
Warren said the body cams have not affected how officers perform their job.
Bisola Oke, The George-Anne Daily Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org