Ben Hill County gets 100k grant for new cameras - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Ben Hill County gets 100k grant for new cameras

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Dashboard cameras have proven to be valuable tools for law enforcement officers.

They're effective in court, too, often giving jurors an eyewitness view of a crime as it unfolds.

Officers in Ben Hill County are now armed with new, state of the art video systems, thanks to a federal grant.

For a small agency like the Ben Hill County sheriff's office funding is limited.

"Federal grants are really important to small agencies like ours," said Investigator Patrick Hogan with the Ben Hill County Sheriff's Office.

Last summer, Sheriff Bobby Mclemore applied for a 100,000 dollar grant to help purchase much needed video equipment for all patrol cars.

"We only got two of those patrol cars with actual working camera systems in them,"said Hogan.

Today technicians started installing high tech video systems into 20 patrol cars, which experts say are much more reliable than the old bulky VHS systems.

"The whole thing is mounted into the rear view mirror and that's your system so it records on a compact flash card when the tape gets pulled the take it out and upload it to the computer," said Jason Bryant, Install Technician.

Investigators say the camera will help in a number of ways.

"In today's courtrooms jury's and judges and prosecutors and defense attorneys they want to see that video tapes evidence," said Hogan.

It will help tremendously on DUI cases.

"What's easier...to have out there an officer saying I have witnessed a guy staggering or an slurring the speech or you as the judge being able to see exactly what the officer saw at the time of the arrest," said Hogan.

Anytime an officer turns his lights on..the camera will start rolling.and even record a minute in advance.

"If they are sitting at a red light and someone blows through it still backs up a minute and captures anything prior to what happens when they turn their lights on," said Bryant.

The system also has a back seat camera and has a special GPS mark button, so it a violator throws a piece of evidence out the window, the area marked so officers can easily locate it.

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