CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department has purchased 140 body cameras and officials say they plan to buy more.
"We started looking at body cameras two years ago because we knew it would become the wave of the future," said Police Chief Greg Mullen. "We realized that officers around the country would be issued body cameras just as they are issued a firearm."
CPD officials announced on Wednesday that in addition to the purchase of the 140 cameras, the department has applied for a grant to buy an additional 150, all of which will provide each patrol officer with a body camera.
A press release stated the camera the department is using is a 140 VIEVU LE 3, and cost $769 each.
Police say the department initially issued 42 of the body cameras last week to test the equipment, training, and policy which have been presented to the small group of officers. According to CPD officials, this initial deployment will allow the department to make any technical and procedural modifications before a larger deployment occurs.
Authorities say the cameras are being used in the Central Business District, Daniel Island and by traffic officers.
"We want to see how a small number of the cameras worked before issuing them all," Mullen said. "The rest of the cameras should be in use by the end of June."
According to the CPD press release, the department was very deliberate in the selection of body cameras and looked at all the challenges and benefits they provide as the technology is introduced.
"The department has created a policy regarding body cameras which has been vetted and provided to local organizations and media outlets," read a statement by police."The officers have received policy training and instruction while learning how to properly use the cameras and software."
"The department realizes body cameras won't be the "end all, be all," however; the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Body cameras can make a positive impact on officers' relationship with the public and provide video evidence that will be used to resolve citizen complaints and criminal prosecutions."