White County Sheriff’s Office Uses Both Body Cameras and Dash Cams, Miller Says | New
According to Sheriff Phillip Miller, the White County Sheriff’s Office uses both body cameras and dash cams, which “are tied together, so when we activate the emergency equipment on the car, it automatically starts recording “.
Miller was asked about his department’s use of the camera after Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley sacked Deputy Sgt. Michael Davis last week after failing to turn on his body camera on June 23 when he shot dead Hunter Brittain, 17, of McRae during a traffic stop at 3 a.m. Staley said his agency does not use dash cameras.
Family and friends have protested the shooting and an investigation is underway by Arkansas State Police.
Staley said Davis was fired because his department’s policy was to activate body cameras when interacting with the public. Miller said his department had a similar policy.
“We have a policy that requires them to wear a body camera whenever they have an interaction with a citizen,” Miller said. “I mean, obviously, they don’t have to turn it on when they’re around pumping gas to the gas pump. Anytime they take official action in the form of a service call, a traffic stop, or whatever, our policy requires them to have that body camera on.
Miller said all uniformed officers in his department wear body cameras. “If you take into account our whole patrol, our resource officers, our judicial division, somewhere around 45 [officers]. “
When the department first got the system about four years ago, Miller said initial expenses for the cameras were around $ 150,000. “It was for the equipment, the facilities.”
As to whether he would support legislation to have body cameras on all the time when officers are on duty, Miller said it would be “a battery issue, a storage issue and a privacy issue to some extent. measured”.
“If you require it to be worn all the time they are working, what if they have to go to the bathroom?” Because, then, if they turn it off, what are they hiding? Miller said. “I think we need to continue to equip every law enforcement officer with a body camera and put in place policies requiring their use. It would be extremely difficult for me, a law requiring them to stay for the duration of their shift. “
Miller said that every new officer, as part of their initial orientation and field training, receives training on protocols for using the cameras.
“Part of the training covers the policy of using and wearing body cameras and car cameras,” he said. “The policy that covers how they’re supposed to operate them” is part of the training.
He said it’s important because what is recorded becomes evidence.
“The system is a robust enough system that it downloads it automatically,” Miller said. “There’s no way they can necessarily manipulate it, to delete files. Only certain people have access to the server where they are stored.
Miller said the sheriff’s office was using a product called Watch Guard. He said that there are several systems when it comes to body cameras.
“The legislature proposed this last session to establish a non-lethal weapons and equipment grant fund for law enforcement agencies, sheriff’s departments and police departments,” Miller said. “This is one of the needs that they were specifically trying to meet with this fund, for agencies that don’t have body cameras or car cameras or don’t have adequate body cameras and car cameras. .
“I think the legislature realized there was a need there. I would dare say that we are probably one of the few states where our legislature has established this, to try to meet that need. “
Every now and then Miller said the sheriff’s office would ask a resident to file a complaint against an officer and “have that body camera there to go back and determine if it was inappropriate or not – 99 times out of 100 , if you look at this body camera and sit down with the complainant and they look at this body camera, he determined that the officer acted appropriately and maybe in the times when there is high anxiety to stress high, sometimes people don’t always remember things as they happened, so it’s just a good all-around tool.