Athens officers gear up with body cameras - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Athens officers gear up with body cameras

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The cameras allow recording of incidents dash cameras cannot go. The cameras allow recording of incidents dash cameras cannot go.

Athens police officers can now strap on cameras as part of their uniforms.

In September, the department received an $11,460 grant from Senator Bill Holtzclaw and Representative Dan Williams of Athens to purchase 34 body cameras. The department used an additional grant to buy 10 more cameras, to outfit a total of 44 officers.

Thursday, Chief Floyd Johnson demonstrated how the cameras will work to help officers record what happens in the field. Chief Johnson said officers have been working with dash cameras on their patrol cars for nearly 20 years. However, those cameras are not designed to follow officers into homes, businesses, wooded areas or other places officers may have to go.

"A lot of times when you get out of the cars, things change, and this will follow the officer wherever he goes. It will have audio and video of most everything," said Johnson.

The officer chooses to turn on the camera as needed, such as witnessing a crime or encountering a suspect. The body cameras are able to document an entire incident until the suspect is placed in jail, thanks in part to the cameras' 600-minute recording time.

Johnson said the footage recorded can be submitted as evidence for court. The cameras can also be used to investigate complaints against officers.

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