FPD officers now wearing body cams
The Fallon Police Department has joined other law enforcement agencies across the United States in requiring its officers to wear body cameras.
Police Chief Kevin Gehman said officers have been using the body cameras for two weeks.
“We’ve already trained the officers in the operation and positioning, which shows a point of view,” Gehman said.
The city purchased body cameras from the same company that provides dash-mount cameras for Fallon’s patrol vehicles. Because of that, both the body and dash cameras are comparable with one another and use the same system to download video.
Gehman said the city council approved the purchase of 30 body cameras with each costing $400 including software.
Capt. Ron Wenger said the city also saved money because the police department didn’t have to buy a new server.
“We’re using the body cameras anytime officers encounter the community such as traffic stops and investigations,” Gehman said.
Although the technology has been an added benefit for the city’s officers, Wenger said the camera must be manually turned on or the officer records nothing. Every five minutes, the camera vibrates to alert the officer the device is still recording.
Both Gehman and Wenger said the camera has a still-photography feature on it that allows the officer to take pictures of a document or evidence. When the body camera is recording, Gehman said the officer can “mark” or designate a section of the video for a specific reason while the video still rolls.
When the cameras are on, Wenger said the officers will tell individuals they’re being recorded.
Sgt. Jose Perez said officers are required to wear the body cameras when on duty, but he said the officers don’t have any qualms about attaching the small cameras to the uniform.
“This is another tool to help the officers,” he said. “It takes away any doubt, especially since everyone has a cellphone camera.”
Furthermore, Perez said the image is not enhanced and cannot be tampered.
“We can’t alter the video, can’t edit the video,” he said. “We just pull it off (download) to play it back.”