RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham rolled out the department’s new body cameras on Tuesday.
Chief Durham hosted a pilot test and training officers on how to use the cameras Tuesday morning. There was also a live demonstration of the new gear.
Mayor Dwight Jones also attended the event.
Chief Durham said that many months were spent researching and planning the launch of the body cameras.
Police introduced two types of the Taser body cameras: one that mounts on the frame of a pair of glasses, the Avon Flex, and another that will be placed in the center of an officer’s chest, the Avon Body 2. Taser says the cameras have proven to help both officers on duty and the people who need their help.
Officers with cameras will alert citizens when the camera is rolling with an introduction and by telling people that the encounter is being recorded.
Durham was adamant during Tuesday’s news conference that the use of the body cameras is not to spy on officers’ every move, but to increase trust and accountability.
“We have a great relationship with the community we serve here,” Durham said. “The body-worn cameras will help us to build on that relationship by increasing trust by providing services, and enhancing public safety in the city of Richmond.”
Studies show that once body cameras are implemented, use of force incidents drop up to 60 percent. Citizen complaints of use of force also plummet – nearly 90 percent.
“We see these cameras as a positive tool in our toolbox,” Durham added. “We see these cameras as a way to increase transparency and confidence in our justice department.”
Several Virginia departments are already using the cameras, including police in Ashland and Colonial Heights, Henrico and Hanover Counties.
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