/University police officers equipped with body cams

University police officers equipped with body cams

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Justin Blowers

Staff Writer

The Troy University Police Department now has three officers equipped with body cameras, according to University Police Chief John McCall.

McCall said that the officers have been using the cameras for about three months now.

“It’s good to have some type of video backup anytime an officer goes on a call,” McCall said. “We wanted to have that for all our officers out there.”

McCall said that the body cameras helped with identifying witnesses at the scene of the Homecoming shooting last semester (October 2016).

“We started with just one camera, trying it out,” McCall said. “Then I ended up buying a couple more right before that event (the Homecoming shooting) happened.”

Husan Muhammed, a sophomore business major from Montgomery, said that the cameras aid in campus safety.

“I feel like it’s a good contribution to keeping the campus safe,” Muhammed said.

Keltin Garret, a senior surveying and geomatics sciences major from Fort Deposit, said that safety is important.

“Safety on both sides is a good,” Garret said. “I know cops have a dangerous job.”

Garret also said that the addition of body cameras made him feel safer on campus.

Michaela Wolf, a sophomore environmental science major from Palmyra, Pennsylvania, is more cautious about the body cameras.

“As long as the recordings are only used in the justice system, it’s fine,” Wolf said.

McCall said that the footage captured by the body cameras is reviewable on the spot by the officers, and that the footage is saved indefinitely. He also said the cameras record the GPS location of the video so that there is no dispute over where the footage takes place.

McCall applied for a grant for body cameras from the U.S. Department of Justice for Small Agency Body Worn Camera and Implementation but was not awarded the grant. He said he plans to apply for more grants with the end goal of putting a body camera on every officer on every Troy University campus.

Body camera footage has been used recently to solve officer murders elsewhere, among other things. McCall said he wants to make sure his officers get these devices.

“They’re good to have,” McCall said. “They’re worth their weight in gold in a crime or shooting type situation.”