Darlington Police armed with mini cameras

DARLINGTON, S.C. (WMBF) – The Darlington Police Department is petitioning the City Council to purchase miniature cameras for added surveillance while officers patrol.

Three Darlington city police officers have been using the cameras on a trial basis since December. Captain Daniel Watson says they are great tools that help to keep people honest.

"It's a great piece of technology, and hopefully it will be employed in such a way that it will make our jobs easier and make the cases that we make better," Ca pt. Watson said.

The camera is integrated with an earpiece that is worn around the head.

The camera records color images and sound, which can be viewed on a touch-screen computer that's about the same size as a PlayStation Portable console and that is worn around the officer's waist.

"You have an eagle-eye point of view from what the officer sees and hears," Officer Joshua Stanley explains. Unlike the stationary dashboard camera, the head camera sees and hears exactly what is seen and heard by the officer. For this reason, he says this camera serves as added protection against accusations of police misconduct.

Ca pt. Watson says the recorded video is stored on a server in Arizona and cannot be altered, tampered with or deleted. He can search that database, download it onto a CD and use it as evidence during a trial.

"It's pretty hard to lie about what you see. It's kind of like a picture's worth a thousand words," the Ca pt. said. He says the cameras are valuable in instances of domestic abuse where the victim fears speaking out against his or her attacker.

"That's powerful evidence," Ca pt. Watson added.

Ca pt. Watson says the cameras will record every interaction an officer has with the public. They are not required to tell someone that the camera is recording.

The Darlington Police Department has already petitioned the city council to purchase more of these cameras.

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