After recent controversies in Ferguson and Baltimore, many activists have called for police departments to implement body cameras while on patrol. East Lansing Police are the latest to start using them.
Officer Ryan Paneta is one of the first to try them out.
Ryan Paneta says, “It keeps everybody honest and it shows the actual events as they happen and I think both sides can benefit from that.
Training for the first group of officers took place in early December.
” When your ready to turn it on you just click to the side. It makes a beep noise. When your ready to shut off turn it to the other side. When you don’t see green it’s no longer recording,” says Paneta.
Officers will decide when it’s necessary to turn their cameras on.
Paneta says, “Usually anytime you have police contact. Any sort of contact with civilians turn it on so on traffic stops, calls for service whether that be on accidents or alarms or just when the officer feels that its necessary to turn the body cam on.
The cameras will be used on each shift.
“We’re going to implement these into our everyday procedures. They’re there for our protection but not only for us for the civilians as well that we come into contact with,” says Paneta
At the end of each shift all footage that’s recorded is downloaded.
Paneta says, “Once you bring it into the department it has to be synced with a computer. Once it’s synced into the computer then all videos that are on that body cam can be reviewed.”
The department has two cameras so far and offers are currently using them on patrol.
They expect to get more body cameras in the next few months, and by the end of February every officer in East Lansing will be trained and wearing a body cam.