The dashboard camera on police cars turns on as soon as an officer flips on their flashing lights. Those cameras record anything that happens in front of the car.
officers in Hannibal
will be able to record any situation no matter where the officer is standing.
New tiny clip-on cameras can record up to two hours of video. Officers can turn the camera on if they get into a situation they think need to be recorded.
"It's a benefit for the community because now you know, it's not just the officer's word, you have the technology to back it up," Police Chief Lyndell Davis explained.
Davis says there is no expectation of privacy when interacting with police. Inside and outside of the building as well as traffic stops are already recorded.
He believes officers can investigate or make contact on calls more efficiently because any details the officer misses at the scene, the camera can pick up. It also means more evidence to prosecute a case.
"We run into use of force situations, building searches, several different situations where a camera would be helpful as far as, if there was a burglar in a house and we had to use for force, or documentation basically," Patrol Officer Michael Mclarin said.
Davis says the user-friendly cameras can capture evidence that otherwise would be lost.
Once an incident is documented on camera, officers plug the device into the USB port on their computer and upload video. Before the cameras are distributed to officers, Hannibal Police Department will implement policies on handling the video.
"Good officers really like these types of things. If you're not such a good officer you may not and I haven't had any internal resistance," Davis said.
Mclarin is one of the three officer who tested the uniform camera over the past few weeks. He's in agreement, and eager to see the technology stay.
"There's nothing that we do on a daily basis that's so terrible, or anything that I'm afraid to have a camera follow me around 24/7," Mclarin said.
All street officers below sergeant level, detectives, and even animal control officers will get the cameras. The cameras cost around a hundred dollars each, but up to fifty-five percent of that cost could be covered by a grant from the city's insurance company.