APD officers to begin using body cams next week

Published 2:26 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Within two weeks, police officers in Andalusia and Opp will be using the body cameras secured with the help of a U.S. Department of Justice grant.

APD Chief Paul Hudson told Rotarians last week that training in the use of the new cameras will begin Tues., Sept. 6, and those officers who are trained that day will begin using cameras on Wed., Sept. 7.

“By Sept. 9, everybody should be using them,” he said.

Hudson explained that officers will always have the cameras with them – even when traveling home – in case something happens en route that they need to record.

“We want the cameras,” Hudson said. “We want to show that our officers are doing the right thing.”

Many Rotarians had questions about procedures, including what drivers who carry guns should do if they are stopped for a traffic violation.

Hudson said the best response is to notify the officer you have a gun, and keep your hands where they are visible.

“They will probably removed you from the car and away from the gun,” he said. “If they are able to separate you from it, you shouldn’t have problems.

“The other thing people need to realize is if an officer asks you to do something, just do it,” he said. “It’s the best way to avoid problems.”

Former Police Chief Wilbur Williams was among those in the crowd. Williams encouraged Hudson to share video with the public as soon as possible in the event there is a situation that warrants it.

“God forbid that something does happen,” Williams said. “If it does happen, I would encourage you and the mayor. Be up front, proactive; if you’ve got video and you know that video is clean, get it out to the public as quickly as possible. It is not going to hurt the investigation.”

Williams said there have been many problems that resulted from questions about police activity that could have been avoided if departments across the country had been up front and shared video when possible.

“If you put out there early one, a lot of the hoopla will be taken away from the situation,” he said.