BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - Bainbridge Public Safety Officers say they hope a new piece of equipment will help improve the community's perception of law enforcement.
The city worked out a deal to get free body cameras for all of their officers.
This tiny piece of equipment has the power to prove what truly happened when people raise questions about interactions between officers and citizens.
Bainbridge Public Safety Director Eric Miller said, “Memory doesn't always record things exactly the way they happened. And so we go and pull the video. And the video is very clear of what did and did not occur.”
Bainbridge Public Safety officers are now required to wear these body cameras while on duty.
It's an upgrade that didn't seem possible with the city's tight budget.
City Manager Chris Hobby said, “We equipped 36 of our officers with a camera that would have cost $900 a piece if we had to buy them.”
But it was all free.
They made a deal with a company called RiskJockey.
It's a website that charges users a convenience fee to retrieve police reports and videos.
Now the site has footage from Bainbridge's department.
Once officers come in contact with citizens, they're required to flip the camera's lens.
The video that's recorded is then transferred to a system where supervisors can review it as needed.
And Hobby said these cameras could not have come at a more crucial time.
“After Ferguson, Missouri, I think the world changed. People think, ‘This is a small town. This is a small department. What in the world do you need this sort of technology for?' But our officers are encountering the same types of things that are encountered anywhere else,” said Hobby.
The agreement between the city and RiskJockey will only last one year.
After that, officers will decide whether the technology was a success.