Police officers in Ferguson, St. Louis, now started wearing body cameras. The move appears as a necessity after the Michael Brown shooting and according to Tom Johnson, Police Chief, the officers had the cameras installed starting from the protest that was held on Saturday.
Tom Johnson declared that the cameras were donated by 2 companies around 1 week ago. In total, there are 50 battery powered body cameras that Ferguson police offers can now wear.
Training was offered to the officers on Saturday. This included information how to properly attach cameras to uniforms, record audio and video. It was added that every police officer will eventually get one.
While protests still go on in Ferguson, prosecutors are currently investigating the Michael Brown shooting. It was stated that the investigations can last until the middle of October.
The body cameras are also added because of the fact that 5 of the protesters in Ferguson have filed multi-mullion dollar law suits against the police in Ferguson. The accusation is that the police used excessive force against demonstrators.
Eric Duster, defense attorney, appeared in an interview by MSNBC and declared that body cameras are necessary, not only in Ferguson. He highlighted the fact that complaints went down in the jurisdictions where the body cameras have been implemented.
Body cameras worn by police officers can document various different day-to-day police related activities ranging from traffic stops to dealing with protesters. The devices can shed light about what happens during an officer related shooting incident.
Duster went on to add that the Ferguson incident highlighted the fact that police officers need to be embedded into the community so that they know what happens in the day-to-day lives of US citizens.
Protesters and supporters managed to raise 150,000 signatures for a potential bill that would have all police officers wear body cameras. Eric Duster highlighted that the cost of such a camera is around $400, which is not a large amount when taking into account citizen and police officer safety.