Spartanburg Police start training with 85 new body cameras - FOX Carolina 21

Spartanburg Police start training with 85 new body cameras

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(File: FOX Carolina) (File: FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

"We'll have a total of 105 on the street once we complete the training for the additional 85," said Major Art Littlejohn with the Spartanburg Police Department.

105 body cameras are far more than the 20 cameras the department has had for the past few years."They were assigned to the bicycles, the guys that were on the bicycles, we thought it was important for them to have them, since they didn't have a dash camera," said Littlejohn. 

He said now, officers in patrol cars will have body cameras, but, not before they have the proper training. "There's guidelines, of course you know with search and seizures, when you enter someone's house, you have to have the same rules that apply," he said.

Littlejohn said in situations where privacy is expected, officers have to make the people they are dealing with, aware that the camera is on. He said domestic situations are sometimes an exception. 

"We have to be continuous of, sometimes, there's going to be innocent people that are going to be on the camera that didn't have anything to do with the crime, and also there are going to be children, juveniles, that are under the age, and we have to deal with those issues as well," said Littlejohn.

He said the body cameras are always on,"It records over itself all the time, once you hit the start button, what it does, is it keeps thirty seconds prior to the time that you start."

But, after all the training the officers will have to go through, little john says the whole process will take some getting used to."The biggest issue that we're probably gonna have is for officers to get used to turning it on. Because you know, when you roll up on a call for service you're focused on what's going on, on the call," he said.

Littlejohn said officers are looking at their surroundings, making sure everything is safe..."You're maybe not necessarily thinking, oh, I gotta turn my camera on."

Although the cameras are there to protect the citizens and the officers, Littlejohn said they can be pricey to maintain. "There are reoccurring costs for the storage, is what's really going to be the downfall."

He said the cameras have been well received, and officers soon to be trained are excited for the opportunity to use them."The officers that have them already, they wouldn't want to start shift without them," said Littlejohn. 

Spartanburg Police officers will begin training with the new cameras that were funded by a 184 thousand dollar federal grant, Tuesday morning. 

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