Gulfport police department pushing for body cameras

Gulfport police department pushing for body cameras
Papania says he prefers the over the ear cameras which will help get better footage. (Image Source WLOX News)
Papania says he prefers the over the ear cameras which will help get better footage. (Image Source WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport Police Department wants to join the growing number of police departments across the country requiring their officers to wear body cameras.

The police chief has been researching body cameras for over a year. He feels these small devices, will make a big difference.

"What we're looking for is all our patrol officers to have them. They have the highest volume of citizen contacts and that's where you want them," said Chief Papania.

Chief Papania says the department has been researching different styles of body cameras, and they really like the idea of the over the ear cameras.

"You're looking for something that's going to capture the most, ones that are going to be sturdy and rugged, and those that work in all the different environments," said Chief Papania.

Papania says the most expensive part of purchasing body cameras is actually the storage system, because every day patrolmen would be downloading hundreds of hours of footage.

"I'm not locked in to which one I want, because price is going to dictate. Really, we could be spending upwards of well over $100,000 a year," said Chief Papania.

While dash cams have been helpful in gathering evidence between officers and citizens, they know body cams will be even more helpful when gathering evidence away from the view of the dash cam.

"Nationwide those agencies that pick up body cameras tend to see a great reduction in complaints against police officers," said Chief Papania.

That's why Chief Papania feels that body cameras are a crucial tool for policing in today's world.

"Anything that tends to protect my police officers, yes, I'm going to push for it and certainly that's where my interest lie, is protecting my police officers," said Chief Papania.

?Tuesday, the chief will present their proposal for the body cameras to the Gulfport city council. Chief Papania says if the funding is put in place he would like to see officers wearing the cameras by this fall.

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