ASHEBORO, N.C. — The Asheboro Police Department plans to use body cameras to become more transparent.
Fifty of them will be purchased and officers will be required to wear them on duty. They’re hoping to have them by October. Right now, they’re testing out different brands.
“Over 95 percent of the officers said they would like to have some sort of camera,” Assistant Chief Robbie Brown said.
Right now the force doesn’t have any at all. According to Brown, Asheboro police officers haven’t used cameras since the 90s, back when they were put in patrol cars.
“We had four or five then and slowly it just got phased out when we got new cars. They didn’t replace the cameras, so I don’t know if it’s an actually funding issue that caused that,” Brown said.
That’s changing under the new leadership of Chief Mark Lineberry, who believes devices like body cameras are a necessity. The footage taken from the cameras can be crucial when it comes to officer and civilian interaction.
“Not only from y’all’s standpoint, the media’s standpoint, from the lawyer’s standpoint, from DA’s standpoint. We get asked that all the time, ‘Hey can we give us the bodycam footage or can you give us the in-car camera footage?’ And that wasn’t something we could ever provide,” Brown said.
All 80 officers in the department will wear one during their shift. Leaders have also created a policy to follow while wearing a body camera.
“Pretty much any call they go on, any traffic stop they go to, any accident or anything, they’ll be required to turn the camera on. And obviously we’ll do an in-service or in-house training about the policy,” he said.
The cameras were funded through the city budget. They will cost around $130,000.