Officers with the Yadkinville Police Department will now have an extra security measure in place while out on patrol.
Starting last month, patrol officers with the department began using video cameras that are mounted right on their uniforms. Police Chief Tim Parks said this extra security measure can be a great benefit both to the officers and to the public.
“We want the public to know that we’re doing right,” Parks said. “It’s to protect us, it’s to protect the citizens as well.”
Parks said the department has used in-car video cameras for awhile and will continue to do so.
“We decided to go with the body cams because the body cams go with the officers every step of the way,” Parks explained. “The in-car cameras are great, but if you get a domestic call or something of that nature that takes you away from your car then you’re not going to get that footage.”
In light of many recent news stories of alleged police violence against citizens, Parks said he felt the time was right to use this new technology for the benefit of both his officers and area residents.
“If an officer does go out here and does wrong, it’s captured, cameras don’t lie. If the officer is in the right, cameras don’t lie,” he said.
On-duty patrol officers will clip the small video cameras on their uniform when they begin their shift. Parks said as a rule, all footage won’t be automatically reviewed, but if there are any complaints then the footage will be viewed to determine what happened.
Though primarily to be used as a safety measure for both the officers and the public, Parks said the footage also could potentially be subpoenaed as evidence in certain cases as well.
Though much of the media coverage involving police violence has taken place in cities much larger than Yadkinville, Parks said he still felt this was a good measure to take on behalf of area residents.
“Whether it has anything to do with racial tensions or anything like that, it could happen anywhere,” he said. “Just because we’re not Winston-Salem, certainly if something happens we would want to be able to protect ourselves or the citizens.”
Parks said in the short time since they had been using the cameras there already have been several complaints against officers proven false by review of the camera footage.
Assistant Chief of Police Patrick Long said he thought it was a good thing that the department already was embracing the new technology as he speculated that at some point in the future police body cams could become a requirement for law enforcement personnel.
Officer Jason Penley said he thought the new body cams were a good thing as well.
“I think it’s very beneficial for the officer, the department, as well as the public.”
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.