‘Cop cams’ come to Ville Platte

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A new piece of equipment for Ville Platte police officers and deputy marshal's uniforms—mini cameras.

Mayor Jennifer Vidrine says they will be mandatory starting Monday.

“It won't be any discrepancy of what happens or does not happen when an officer goes out on a call,” says Mayor Vidrine.

Mayor Vidrine says she was sold on the cameras after attending a state conference of local officials last month. The city bought 25 of them for around $5,000 in total.

“You cannot put a price on accuracy and safety,” says Mayor Vidrine.    

There are four different methods to using the body cams. You can either put it around your chest, around your arm, around your belt or the preferred method Ville Platte police—clip it to your uniform.

UL-Lafayette criminology professor, Chris De Lay, says the cameras have become more popular since the mid-90's.

“It started on the west coast—San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco,” says De Lay.

Now they can be found in major cities—like New York and Los Angeles—and are trickling down to small towns like Ville Platte.

“Most of the departments that have adopted it; love it,” says De Lay.

De Lay says privacy concerns have come up, even making it onto the U.S. Supreme Court docket.

“The officer legally is where he is and has a legal right to hear what he hears,” says De Lay.

Mayor Vidrine says it works  both ways. Citizens also have a legal right to subpoena what officers legally hear.

 

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