MADISON (WKOW)-- You've seen cameras in the squad car, but now they're being attached to the officers themselves. Officers at Madison College are trying out a new technology that they say could revolutionize law enforcement.
"I think it's a great equalizer between the citizenry and a police force," Assistant Director of Madison College Public Safety Lt. Jim McFarlane says.
Public safety officials are currently testing out "body cameras." They're small cameras that can record video from an officer's point of view. A handful of departments across the country are already using them with their officers.
"Maybe a person is attacking an officer when it was completely unprovoked by the officer or sometimes it could be vice versa. Perhaps it would capture an officer using excessive force when it's not necessary," McFarlane says.
The cameras cost around $1,300 a piece and can be used with a variety of accessories. The brand Madison College is testing out can be attached to a pair of sunglasses or a shoulder strap on an officer's uniform.
The cameras are typically used when an officer performs a traffic stop or makes an arrest. Once they turn the camera on it starts to record everything that happens in front of the officer. This video is then sent to a third party online so no one can edit or tamper with it.
McFarlane says the new innovation is popular among attorneys and judges who see it as a tool for producing valuable evidence in difficult cases.
"I think the public has a right to see what we do on a daily basis. This new technology gives them the opportunity to in essence ride along with us in any given call," McFarlane says.
There is however, the concern about privacy for the officer and the people they are is recording, but McFarlane says the feedback he's received from his staff has been mostly positive.
"We welcome this technology to show everyone that we have nothing to hide," McFarlane says.
On Wednesday the American Civil Liberties Union released their official recommendation regarding the use of body cameras in law enforcement. They support it as long as departments implement proper policy to monitor its use.
Officers at Madison College are still testing these cameras out. They are currently in the middle of a 30-day trial using one company's equipment. They plan to try out others before making their final decision on whether or not to use body cameras in their department.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Program Manager Jessica Miller at 608-661-2794. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.