GSU police have body cameras

Johnny Lu

Get ready to say cheese as Georgia Southern University police officers are the first public safety force in Bulloch County to wear body cameras.

According to the GSU Office of Marketing and Communications director Jennifer Wise, each of the 34 patrol officers in the public safety department will be provided with a body camera. At least four marked patrol cars have already had video equipment installed.

Body cameras can show more than the facts as the GSU police department recognizes that video evidence can help produce better understanding of the conduct as well as relationship between law enforcement officers and the community. The technology of visual evidence ensures accuracy and accountability in incidents while providing better opportunities for officer training.

Recorded material will be saved on a secure storage system for 90 days and then deleted unless noted otherwise for cases or evidence, Interim Police Chief Laura McCullough said.

While it is important for law enforcement officials to be as equal and transparent as possible with current events and social climate the way they are today, video recorded by law enforcement is not considered public record under state law.

The city hopes to see improvement from this recently approved funding as city officials have been working on the plan for nearly two years now.

With the new accessory settling in, others, such as Statesboro Police, look to follow suit as body surveillance technology is also included in their current fiscal year’s budget. While it looks like budget is turning into benefit for the city of Statesboro, not everyone will have the privilege to participate in this relatively new practice as budget constraints may apply. Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputies will use body cameras only under specific circumstances while Georgia State Patrol have not yet been approved by the state’s budget.