CMPD officers suiting up with new technology

CMPD officers suiting up with new technology

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by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on August 7, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 7 at 6:41 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will be participating in a pilot program that has the potential to give every officer a camera.

“In this day and age with technology everyone having a cell-phone camera and video,” said Sgt Todd Walter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The cameras are already in use in Scottsdale, Arizona where 10 officers are riding around with small cameras attached to their glasses.

Unlike dash cams that are fixed inside a car, the new cameras can go anywhere an officer can go and record a much wider range of interactions.

Some of those confrontations might not make an officer look good, but the F.O.P. is all for the new technology.

“If there is a bad apple in the group, as professionals, we don’t want that bad apple. So it will help in that respect,” said Walter.

By the end of August, TASER International will give the department 32 cameras. Each division will have two officers wearing them who have volunteered to be a part of the pilot program.

Reaction on the street was primarily favorable, but some Charlotte residents like Vanessa Stanley have privacy concerns.

"I feel like that is a little too much invading our rights; I think we should know if we’re being recorded," she said.

Troy Burtnick disagrees.

"If it had been 10 years ago yes, but now it’s a different world were living in and we need it," he said.

One reason the F.O.P. isn’t afraid of Big Brother: the camera doesn’t lie; but some people do.

"If the department decides to go to it, it will clear that up real quickly. As a supervisor you can sit at a computer and pull that data up while you’re on the phone with that individual who is calling to complain," said Walter.

The new technology is also cheaper, costing half as much as the old dash cams. There is no word on how long this pilot program will last.

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