State lawmaker pushing for body cameras for all police officers

VIDEO: State lawmaker pushing for body cameras for all police officers

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A South Carolina lawmaker is making a push for police officers across the state to have body cameras.

The call for such cameras came into the spotlight after a deadly officer involved shooting that sparked riots in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Denzel Curnell shooting in Charleston also brought calls for body cameras for cops after it was discovered that five minutes of Curnell's confrontation with an officer was not recorded on surveillance cameras at Bridgeview Village.

Representative Wendell Gilliard told a meeting of local law enforcement Friday afternoon he will introduce a resolution in January for a cost study of the body cameras.

"We have to take it to another level and that's statewide," Gilliard said.

Jonathan Wrenn of Taser International says the body cameras increase transparency and accountability for police departments.

"Whatever we have to do to build trust, whatever tools we can employ to build trust between the community and law enforcement, if this is what works we're in," said North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers.

Wrenn also says the cameras pick up 90 percent of an incident compared to only 10 percent for dash cameras. He also said officers would not be able to alter the video or audio. 

Representatives from Charleston Police, North Charleston Police, Mount Pleasant Police, and the Highway Patrol attended the meeting.

The Mount Pleasant Police Department is field testing 13 body cameras. 

The Charleston Police Department plans to apply for a grant to get body cameras. Police Chief Greg Mullen says his officers who have tested the body cameras said they liked them, and hopes to have at least sixty body cameras in the field in the next three months.

"What this is gonna do is gonna be able to be a neutral arbitrator of exactly what happened, so there's no concern from anywhere about who did what, where or what was said," Mullen said.

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