Grovetown police have a new piece of technology to help prosecute criminals.
The Grovetown Department of Public Safety in June purchased 24 video cameras smaller than a cell phone that attach to the front of officers' shirts, said Chief Al Robinson.
After discovering that Columbia County school board officers had the cameras, Robinson said the department tried out a few before purchasing them for the whole department.
"It is just a tool to use for different cases," he said. "It is great when there's complaints."
All department personnel have the cameras, including jailers, road patrol deputies, investigators and even Robinson.
Because of the limited storage capacity, the cameras don't continuously record. But the staff can activate them at any time, especially when they anticipate a problem, Robinson said.
"It has really worked out in the jail," Robinson said.
When inmates complain of police abuse, officials have video evidence of the inmate's demeanor upon arrival at the jail and staff interaction with the inmate.
And if something happens and the camera wasn't recording, department policy requires an explanation, Robinson said.
The cameras cost $130 each and have already been used at a fire scene to video the gathered crowd looking for suspicious behavior.
"There's a lot of different uses," Robinson said.
The video footage can also be extremely helpful in court should charges arise from a taped incident.
Two cases involving the video footage have been taken to the Grovetown Municipal Court.
But footage was never shown because one defendant pleaded guilty and the other requested a jury trial in Superior Court, Municipal Court Judge Travers Chance said.
"I'm kind of impressed with the fact that they got it going on," Chance said. "I'm kind of anxious to see it myself."
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