Impact of police body cameras in Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — All across the country and the state, law enforcement has been stepping up their efforts to buy body cameras in response to recent police shootings.

In Winston-Salem, police say they’ve been leading that effort with more than 340 cameras currently being worn.

Police met with the city’s public safety committee Monday night to give an update on how the cameras’ effectiveness.

So far, police say the cameras have been helpful in keeping situations from escalating with both members of the public and officers knowing that they’re being recorded.

The cameras are mainly worn by police in the field from foot and bike patrol to traffic officers and the Street Crime Unit.

The video is stored on evidence.com for 90 days.

“Officers download the video every day at the end of their shift,” said Police Chief Barry Rountree.

“Officers don’t have the ability to delete, manipulate, erase or whatever term you want to use of the video.”

State lawmakers are looking into two bills to make the cameras mandatory for at least 60 percent of police departments and sheriff’s offices by 2017.

House bills 537 and 395 would set aside $10 million over the next two years to help agencies pay for the cameras and store video.

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