More Dash-Cameras Needed for Mid-State Police Vehicles?
Updated: Tuesday, July 15 2014, 08:25 AM CDT
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Dickson, Tenn-- They say the camera doesn't lie, so why are most mid-state police vehicles not equipped with dashboard cameras?
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Dickson County Deputy Dustin Evans really had no choice but to get over being camera shy.
About 8 months ago his department started requiring deputies like him to use body cams.
"When I first get out of the car I'll flip it on and it takes just a few seconds and it's ready to record," said Evans.
The department had very few dash cams prior to 8 months ago.
Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe says they're worth every penny his department spent.
"If you look at it from a positive or negative standpoint I can't point any negatives. It seems like the right thing to document what we're doing," said Bledsoe.
Bledsoe says the cameras have been invaluable for investigating complaints about deputies and in many respects they're the evolution of dashcam technology that first appeared in Middle Tennessee in the late 80s.
Still Fox 17 News found many officers are still pulling people over unrecorded.
Robert Earl Jackson Junior says he learned that the hard way last March when he claims he was violently assaulted by Kentucky State Police during a stop that wasn't recorded.
The officer's camera had been broken for some time.
"Still to this day I still have dreams about that stuff," said Jackson. "What they did to me I think they need to be in some trouble."
The Kentucky State Police only have two dozen dashcams working the entire state at any given time and they're not the only ones with vehicles without the equipment.
62 of the Tennessee Highway Patrol's 731 marked vehicles don't have dashcams.
Just the 24 DUI vehicles in Metro Police's fleet of 552 have them.
Money is a major factor as the dashcam systems cost $4000.
"Obviously we understand a lot of agencies financially aren't able to do that outside of that there's no reason not to have the cameras in my mind," said Brentwood Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh.
Walsh's department is one of several including Humphreys County, Williamson County, Mt. Juliet Police, Sumner County and soon Franklin Police that have every patrol unit equipped with some type of camera.
In Brentwood's case, the system recently played a key role in spotting a driver switch during a police chase.
"We would not have known that had we not captured it on video," said Walsh.
Walsh's systems also include a camera in the back seat.
That feature has come in handy investigating injury claims by people who've been arrested.