Valdosta Police Department debuts new body cameras

Valdosta Police Department debuts new body cameras
Patrol Officer Derrek Manning displays his body cam as it is clipped to the front of his uniform. (Source: WALB)
Patrol Officer Derrek Manning displays his body cam as it is clipped to the front of his uniform. (Source: WALB)
All patrolmen are mandated to turn on body cams during every interaction with the general public. (Source: WALB)
All patrolmen are mandated to turn on body cams during every interaction with the general public. (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - New body cameras for the Valdosta Police Department are doing more than recording, they are helping to put police back in the community.

WALB's Damon Arnold accompanied a VPD patrol officer who explained how the new cameras help.

Patrol Officer Derrick Manning said that the upgraded body cameras will help keep officers on the streets longer.

Now, community members will be able to rest a little bit easier now that the Valdosta Police Department has officially begun using the new and improved body cameras.

The cameras will decrease an estimated hour of download time to about 10 minutes and will allow officers to sort and label videos in the field.

"In real time, we're able to stay in the community to patrol our streets, to keep our citizens of Valdosta safe and show more officer presence to let them know we're in the community," explained Manning.

These are the same cameras that city council members voted on back in July, 116 Motorola Si 500 cameras, costing $450,000 over a term of five years.

VPD said the cameras are expected to cut down on overtime and to simply record the facts without hassle.

"You have a lot of departments who don't like as I say, 'big brother watching', but these body cameras have cut down on lawsuits. Anybody who comes to file a complaint against an officer, you're able to go back and get the facts," said Manning.

The body cameras are activated with the click of a button. Push the button forward and it turns the camera on and begins recording.

"Once it's activated, it goes back five seconds and records, so any interaction that the officer may have is recorded," Manning explained.

Manning said that community members should have a piece of mind knowing that patrolmen are wearing these cameras.

"We hold all officers at a higher standard and accountable for their actions and therefore the officer is accountable to explain why the body camera was not activated during its course of contact with the general public," said Manning.

VPD has issued cameras out to all patrolmen at this time but will equip other departments in the near future.

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