SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Police in Salt Lake City may soon be carrying the latest technological crime fighting device.
It’s a body camera. And by next spring officers with the Salt Lake City police department could be strapping them on along with their handgun, ammo and handcuffs.
“The value is crucial as to how we do business,” says Chief Chris Burbank.
The police chief unveiled the cameras and offered a demonstration for members of the media.
Currently some bike patrol officers are wearing them as a pilot project. But Burbank hopes to gather enough money to an unspecified amount by next spring.
The body cameras will be used to record every interaction police have with the public.
“This opens up an avenue of transparency that has not existed in law enforcement in the past,” says Burbank.
The body cameras can be placed on a pair of glasses, on collars or on a belt cost about $1,200 apiece. That includes the camera and other accessories.
But officers see the price will be worth it.
“Being a traffic officer a lot of people yell and scream and carry on with me and stuff like that and when it's recording, I can show that in court," says motor patrol officer Brett Larson.
Currently 250 police agencies across the nation are wearing cameras.
And while some may feel its big brother, the chief disagrees.
“It is just the opposite,” Burbank says. “It shows time and time again the outstanding work our officers do and justifies our actions each and every day.”
Burbank will request money for the cameras in next year’s Salt Lake City budget. In addition he plans to seek outside funds to purchase the cameras. He also plans to lobby other police department along the Wasatch front to join the effort.
“That we can get a better price if we buy in bulk,” Burbank says.