Charleston Police Department issues body cameras to patrol officers, supervisors

Charleston Police Department issues body cameras to patrol officers, supervisors

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department has issued body-worn cameras to more than 300 patrol officers and supervisors since June 2015.

The department began issuing body-worn cameras purchased with federal and state grants and with donations from the Charleston Police Fund, spokesman Charles Francis said.

"Body cameras provide dual accountability," Police Chief Greg Mullen said. "A lot of times, people come in and they'll complain about the way an officer behaved or about something that they did, and what we have been able to determine across the country is, when departments are utilizing this technology, their citizen complaints go down significantly because, obviously, when you're being recorded, you're on your best behavior — not only from a citizen's perspective but from an officer's perspective."

Each officer has been trained on policy and use of the devices before receiving them.

The department began exploring the use of body cameras in late 2013, before the technology gained the national spotlight, Francis said.

According to CPD officials, the TBonz Foundation also gave $25,000 towards body cameras.

Charleston City Council approved a grant for more body cameras for Charleston Police officers in August 2015. The department received a 2015 Edward Byrne Memorial Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs to pay for 29 body cameras at that time.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill 47 into law on June 10, 2015 in North Charleston. The law requires body cameras be used by all state and local law enforcement agencies.

Haley signed the bill surrounded by the family of Walter Scott, whose death was caught on a cell phone camera. Scott, a motorist, was fatally shot by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. Slager was later fired from that department and charged in Scott's death.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.