More East Tennessee law enforcement agencies investing in body c

More East Tennessee law enforcement agencies investing in body cameras

Posted:
On a typical traffic stop, the camera doesn't catch much, but they are there if something goes wrong. On a typical traffic stop, the camera doesn't catch much, but they are there if something goes wrong.
“It protects them from citizen complaints but probably one of the most important reasons it protects them, or not really protects them but it enhances their testimony when traffic stops may end up in court,” said Capt. David Carswell with Alcoa Police. “It protects them from citizen complaints but probably one of the most important reasons it protects them, or not really protects them but it enhances their testimony when traffic stops may end up in court,” said Capt. David Carswell with Alcoa Police.
“Regardless of what your opinion is on that situation it shows usually what is happening, what happened in an incident like that, documentation is key,” explained Assistant Chief Jimmy Davis with the Loudon County Sheriff's Department. “Regardless of what your opinion is on that situation it shows usually what is happening, what happened in an incident like that, documentation is key,” explained Assistant Chief Jimmy Davis with the Loudon County Sheriff's Department.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - The fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri is prompting calls for more officers to wear body cameras. Questions surrounding what led to the shooting of Michael Brown could be answered if those last moments had been recorded.

6 News dug into East Tennessee law enforcement agencies to find out how many of them are equipped with this technology.

“At your fastest you were going 104.”

Through the microphone on his body camera, you can hear an Alcoa police officer speak to a driver during a traffic stop. On a typical traffic stop, the camera doesn't catch much, but they are there if something goes wrong.

“It protects them from citizen complaints but probably one of the most important reasons it protects them, or not really protects them but it enhances their testimony when traffic stops may end up in court,” explained Capt. David Carswell with Alcoa Police Department.

The Alcoa Police Department has used dash cameras in their patrol cars for several years and last year outfitted their motorcycle officers with body cameras. This week they are rolling out cameras for the rest of their patrol officers.

“With the body worn camera it's there, it's constantly on, when the officer has it activated,” explained Capt. Carswell.

The cameras can protect officers and the public especially in officer involved shootings, like what happened in Ferguson.

“Regardless of what your opinion is on that situation it shows usually what is happening, what happened in an incident like that, documentation is key,” explained Assistant Chief Jimmy Davis with the Loudon County Sheriff's Department.

The Loudon County Sheriff's Office has body cameras for their school resource officers and the correction officers in the jail, they hope to outfit the rest of their force, but it all comes down to money.

“This unit right here is between $950 to $1,000,” explained Davis, describing the three inch cameras that attach to an officer's lapel.

Agencies like Loudon and Alcoa received many of their cameras through the Governor's Highway Safety Office, but dozens of other departments told us the body cameras can't fit in their budget.

The departments that have purchased them say they're necessary.

“They're a great investment. There was  a point in time where the in car cameras came about the officer perception was big brother checking up on me, making sure I'm doing my job right, but now were at a point in time where officers don't want to work without a camera,” said Capt. Carswell.

We checked with dozens of our local sheriff and police departments to find out what equipped they have. We reached out to all agencies in our viewing area. Below are the ones that responded.
  • Alcoa Police Department: Dash cameras in cruisers, just implementing body cameras
  • Anderson County Sheriff's Department: dash cameras in half of patrol cars, no body cameras. 
  • Bean Station Police Department: Dash cameras and body cameras for all officers
  • Blount County: Dash cameras in cruisers
  • Campbell County Sheriff's Department: Dash cameras in three vehicles, no body cameras
  • Clinton Police Department: Dash cameras, no body cameras 
  • Cocke County Sheriff's Department: Dash cameras in cruisers, starting to implement body cameras
  • Crossville Police Department: Dahs cameras in cruises, no body cameras
  • Gatlinburg Police Department: Majority of cars have dash cameras, looking into body cameras
  • Greene County Sheriff's Department: Most cruisers have dash cameras, no body cameras
  • Greeneville Police Department: Some cars have dash cameras, no body cameras
  • Hamblen County Sheriff's Department: Most cars have dash cameras, most officers have body cameras
  • Knox County Sheriff's Office: Dash cameras in most patrol cars, considering body cameras 
  • Knoxville Police Department: Dash cameras in patrol cars, no body cameras
  • Lafollette Police Department: Dash cameras in some vehicles, no body cameras
  • Loudon County Sheriff's Office: Dash cameras in all cruises, body cameras on SROs, correction officers
  • Madisonville Police Department: Some cars have dash cameras, no body cameras
  • Maryville Police Department: Dash cameras in patrol cars, trying out body cameras on some officers
  • McMinn County Sheriff: Dash cameras in patrol cars, five body cameras
  • Newport Police Department: Dash cameras in patrol cars, no body cameras
  • Oak Ridge Police Department: Dash cameras in patrol cars, one body cameras for SRO
  • Pigeon Forge Police Department: Dash cameras and body cameras on officers
  • Scott County: Dash cameras in two of their patrol cars, have body cameras for four officers
  • Sevier County Sheriff's Department: Body cameras on 55 of their officers, no dash cameras
  • Union County Sheriff's Department: Dash cameras in cruisers, some officers have body cameras
Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.