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Connects Against Crime: PD Body Cams
Updated: Thursday, October 10 2013, 11:58 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - ONE click gives Officer David Schwindt a THIRD eye.
“Now we got that transparency, that ability to review that in this day and age seems to make a difference to a lot of people,” Schwindt said.
His body camera is one of 10 for Iowa City Police. Schwindt says they provide and unbiased perspective when they’re out on the streets.
“Almost every case I know of, it's been a benefit to the officer to show that they are doing a professional job,” Schwindt said.
Iowa City started using the cameras this year. Mt. Vernon Police have been using them since last October. Chief Mark Winder says he has 6 cameras for his 6 officers. He says they're good for anything - from domestic disputes to bar checks to traffic stops.
“Any type of a situation to support the officer's observations,” Winder said.
He says the cameras give an advantage dashboard cams simply don't have.
“They go where the officer goes. If there's a chase or pursuit on foot, they're right there.”
Officer Schwindt says it's a useful tool, but all of this camera tech has him concerned. His biggest issue is the potentially diminishing value of an officer's word.
“Seems if I don't have the audio or video that courts and the public are so used to now, my word doesn't mean much beyond anyone else’s,” Schwindt said.
Chief Winder says he's confident that the legal system will stand by their side – camera or no camera.
“Hopefully our courts and the people that are listening to the testimony of the officers are gonna believe that the officers are telling the truth,” Winder said.
The cameras cost the Mt. Vernon police department $200. The Iowa City cameras were more than $900 each, but paid for by a federal police grant.