APD to get body cams very soon

Published 1:47 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Members of the Andalusia Police Department will soon all have body cameras.

Chief Paul Hudson on Tuesday demonstrated several cameras to council members before recommending a Coban model. Outfitting the department will cost approximately $66,000, for which the APD has received a federal grant.

“We’ll be purchasing these for the Andalusia Police Department and the Opp Police Department,” Hudson said. “The sheriff pulled out of the grant, so we had a little more money to spend with the cameras.”

Last fall, the APD-led grant effort was one of only 73 funded nationwide by the Department of Justice.

The cameras are touted as a way to reduce the use of force and clear up questions about disputed encounters. Interest in the technology soared after a series of fatal encounters between police officers and unarmed civilians.

Hudson and Assistant Chief Paul Dean said the grant required participating departments to collaborate on policies for the use of the cameras. The Opp Police Department is currently doing the research on storage solutions for the video.

Dean said the policies adopted by the two agencies dictates how long footage will be kept. The cameras will only be on when officers leave the vehicles, and the length of time stored will depend upon the incident recorded.

Last month, officers in the Sheriff’s Department were outfitted with cameras purchased from the sheriff’s law enforcement fund. Sheriff Dennis Meeks said he just decided to go in a different direction.