10/04/10 — Officers now have cameras in cruisers

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Officers now have cameras in cruisers

By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 4, 2010 1:46 PM

Thanks to a federal grant, the Goldsboro Police Department and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office have added in-car cameras to several of their patrol cars.

Thirty-five Sheriff's Office vehicles and 37 Police Department cruisers are now equipped with digital video cameras.

In 2009, the police department applied for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant through the Department of Justice. The departments were awarded a total of $337,928, which they split, Major Jay Memmelaar said.

"We wanted to use the cameras to help us with training and documenting what happens out on the street," Memmelaar said.

The police department cameras were installed in early September, and the sheriff's office cameras were installed in mid-September. The cameras are capable of both video and audio recording, as well as audio recording outside of the car -- via a device on the officer's belt.

Sheriff's Office Sgt. Craig Edwins said he is happy with the camera in his car.

"We're enjoying them very much," he said. "Since they've been installed, we have already gotten voluntary confessions to crimes on camera."

The cameras also have a pre-event option and an impact sensor, so if an officer were to get in a car accident, the camera will save recording from 45 seconds prior to the impact, even if it wasn't recording at the time.

Edwins said the audio recording capability outside the car is helpful, especially during domestic violence calls when they are in someone's house. Edwins added the cameras add a heightened sense of protection for the deputies.

"It makes you feel more secure knowing that someone can't accuse you of something you didn't do," he said.

Sheriff's Office Captain Dwayne Edwards said the cameras also add to the deputies' safety.

"If at any time, any officer is assault or something were to happen to an officer, with a camera it would be easier to locate the perpetrator," Edwards said.

Edwards also said the video and audio recordings will also be useful as evidence in court cases.

Video and audio recordings are stored on the camera's digital cards. When full, the cards are removed from the cameras and downloaded to a server so it can be stored and copied onto a CD, if needed. Cleared cards are returned to officers to continue recording.