The next interaction you have with police in Salt Lake City could be recorded. The city’s police department is testing new body-worn video cameras that allow officers to record daily interactions with citizens. Detective Bill Silver says the cameras have the potential to alleviate courtroom disputes.
“We’ve actually found that in 95 to 97 percent of the situations that we’ve recorded actually validates the actions of the officer and finds out that the complaints that are being made are actually fraudulent or didn’t actually occur,” he says.
Salt Lake City police are currently testing two video recorders. The recorders are the size of a pen and can be mounted on an officers clothing, eyeglasses, or helmet. Detective Silver says the body-worn video recorders could also be beneficial in everything from a typical DUI stop to documenting the search warrant process in investigations.
“I can actually say this is what I observed on this thing. I can document as I go through so there is an actual video document of what I observed and why it was important in my case and how it related. So I can just go through all that rather than having to answer those questions in court several months later I can do it right there on the site, do it on the job, and do it right when it’s occurring,” he says.
The video recorders cost between $1,000 to $1,200 per unit. Silver says the department is looking for funding options to supply the entire department with portable cameras by the next fiscal year.