PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - We've all seen dramatic video caught on police dash cams, but imagine if those cameras were on the police officers themselves. That's about to happen in Pigeon Forge for their motorcycle officers, who currently don't have any way to record their encounters with the public.
The so-called body cams just arrived at the Pigeon Forge Police Department. They hope to have them out on the streets very soon, just in time for the busy tourist season.
"We've had video cameras in the cars for many years," said Chief Jack Baldwin. "They do make a cam for the motorcycle, but the body camera made a whole lot more sense because now the camera is with the officer all the time."
With the trial run a success, the department invested in
eight of the lightweight, wireless cameras for their motorcycle officers
at a total cost of $7,000.
"There are many cases where you wish you had the recording," Baldwin said. "People saying they didn't run that traffic light or they weren't doing that speed or they didn't say that to the officer or they weren't drunk."
Officers say the camera doesn't lie.
"They can help us in the long run to cut down on complaints on us cause normally it's our word against theirs," said Cpl. Russell Parker.
He sometimes drives a cruiser, where turning on the blue lights also activates the dash cam. With the body cameras, worn on the chest, sliding the cover off the lens starts the recording.
Baldwin said more cameras are better for everyone.
"If you look at what happened in Boston, had it not been for surveillance cameras set in different locations, how much longer would it have taken to actually locate the people who had set off the bombs?" he said.
If the body cameras end up working significantly better than the dash cams, Baldwin said he'll look into getting them for the rest of his 54-member force.
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A Maryville woman led the Blount County Sheriff deputies on a high speed chase Tuesday morning that ended in a two vehicle accident.More >>