Winston-Salem police hope to add more body cameras

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem Police Chief Barry Rountree wants to expand the use of body cameras to 95 more patrol officers.

Monday night, Rountree and Sgt. LS Wright presented to members of the Public Safety Committee of the Winston-Salem. They want to add 190 additional cameras; two cameras per officer worth more than $600,000.

“Not only for the cameras but also the cost of the storage included in it and total equipment replacement plan and a warranty for three years,” Wright said.

The Downtown Bike Patrol unit and the DWI Task Force have used the three inch Taser Axon Flex cameras for more than a year.

Wright said the video from the 39 cameras has been used in court cases within the city and often deters crime.

“Currently the policy is that if an officer has interaction with a citizen then they are to turn the camera on,” Wright said.

The body cameras can record up to 13 hours of video and cannot be edited by the officer once uploaded.

Wright said the department already has the money to pay for the cameras in a budget that covers patrol car cameras.

Council will now have to approve the use of the money.

Mayor Allen Joines said the cameras have been a great success for the bike patrol and understands the desire to expand the program.

“I think it gives security to not only the officer but the citizens as well,” Joines said.

Wright said if approved, they plan to use the patrol body camera policy from the Greensboro Police Department as an example.