Cop cams go High-Def - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cop cams go High-Def

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This picture of the suspect was shot off a computer screen by WALB's camera This picture of the suspect was shot off a computer screen by WALB's camera
The new high tech cameras in the drug agent's cars cost $26,000 The new high tech cameras in the drug agent's cars cost $26,000
Interdiction Officer Richard Norman Interdiction Officer Richard Norman
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The video of a drug suspect chunking a kilo of cocaine off the Oakridge Bridge is making national news. It's not only entertaining to watch, but it's great quality. And there's a reason.

Albany Dougherty Drug Agents are using high definition cameras mounted in their cars. The new high tech cameras in the drug agent's cars cost $26,000, but were paid for with money seized from drug arrests, so no tax payer money was used to buy the best dashcams.

And the drug agents say it is a great tool to get more drugs off the streets. Just one look at this week's drug suspect chase in South Albany shows the quality of the new dash cams. A 720-P high definition camera system mounted on the dashboards of the A.D.D.U.'s Interdiction marked patrol cars is one of the drug unit's best tools to prove what happened.

A.D.D.U. Commander Major Bill Berry said, "You've heard the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words. I say a video is worth a million."

The drug unit's old standard definition cameras recorded to a disc, so during bumps they would sometime drop out or freeze. The quality was so poor; you could not read the license tag numbers often.

Officers say they feel the new Hi-Def cameras give them a better safety advantage.

Interdiction Officer George Camp, Jr. said, "The definition of the video is so high, that you can see everything inside the vehicle. If somebody is grabbing a gun in the car while we are trying to stop them, the camera picks that up."

The cameras video in front and behind the car, and the officers have a playback monitor inside the car as well. The officers wear a remote control on their belt, so they can start the camera system remotely and pick up sound from that microphone...and train how to use those cameras in their arrests.

Camp said, "We know where to properly place people on traffic stops so they are in video range. How far the zoom capabilities of them are."

"The officers know the superior video will help a jury make their decision in a court case," Interdiction Officer Richard Norman said.

"I think it helps fight crime. I think it deters crime. If you know a police officer is behind you with that camera on, you already know you on that beautiful screen. It might deter some of that crime." The new high def cameras are also infrared, so they produce excellent night time video as well.

As in this case, when that drug suspect throws a package off the bridge, without the camera it would be the drug agent's word against the suspects in court. Now with these high def cameras there can be no question what happened.

One of the drug unit's cars is also equipped with new tag reading devices. If they are given a suspect's license plate number, the tag reader will spot the car if it passes it.

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