More police wearing body cameras as ‘insurance’

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A petition asking the White House to look into requiring all state, county and local police to wear a camera has reached almost 150,000 signatures. Organizers created the petition, called the “Mike Brown Law,” just four days after a police officer shot and killed the teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

NewsChannel 15 talked to a spokesperson with Indiana State Police who said some officers have already been wearing these body cameras for the past couple of years and they’re all for it.

“I’ve been on for 21 years and ever since I’ve been on, we’ve had in-car cameras,” said Sergeant Ron Galaviz, Public Information Officer with Indiana State Police.

However, the use of cameras among police is slowly evolving.

“Sometimes when you tell a story, it just defies belief, but once you see it, sometimes you can’t make that story up and so again, what these troopers are doing, they’re utilizing the technology available today, taking that piece of equipment and putting it on their person,” said Galaviz.

One trooper started wearing the camera a couple of years ago and word spread. Now, a handful of officers at the local ISP post is wearing them.

Officers can put the camera on for a traffic stop or whenever they think they’ll need it, to have the capability to capture your every move and be able to watch it back.

Sergeant Galaviz said ISP does not require these body cameras. The department does not pay for them. Instead, officers will look for outside assistance or even pay for them out of pocket.

However, Galaviz said they’re worth it because these cameras act as insurance, helping reinforce a case or serving as evidence if there’s an allegation against police agencies.

“When you’re looking at the potential ramification of going to court of having an allegation especially those completely false, filed against you, having that documented evidence is invaluable,” said Galaviz.

Galaviz said in the past, some people even withdrew their complaints after finding out the officer in an incident had a camera.

The petition to the White House has exceeded the level of support needed for serious consideration. It’s now up to the White House to respond.

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