Valdosta Police Chief Says Body Cameras Save Tax Dollars, Hold Officers And Residents Accountable

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Updated By: Winnie Wright
October 3, 2014

Valdosta, GA - Last July, VPDD adopted new body cameras that officers wear at all times while on duty. At each stop, video that cannot be altered.. is captured right from the officer's chest.

"If they're wrong, I'll deal with it, will not hesitate. But if they're right, they deserve to be protected", says Police Chief, Brian Childress.

While hesitant at first, many officers say they're now on board with the new technology.

"Since we've been wearing these things, I've noticed the public here in Valdosta, the citizens, they'll look at it, they'll ask you what it is, and you can actually see their demeanor change, so it's actually a deterant", says Officer Randall Hancock.

Hancock and another officer were recently involved in a situation with a man they say was unruly. The camera was rolling.

"When we arrived on scene, he was being loud and boisterous; wouldn't calm down. To the point that we ended up having to take him to the ground", says Sgt. Holly Vickers.

Vickers says the man punched Hancock in the nose, which forced her to taze him. The man's family filed a complaint.

"We just go back and play the video. I can tell you, 99% of the time, if not all the time, or most of them anyway, that our officers have done the right thing and have been professional", says Childress.

The Chief says his department isn't perfect and the cameras have led to disciplinary action in some cases.

Chief Childress adds the cameras also save taxpayers money.
He says the hours and money spent investigating complaints are now saved by just watching the video.

By: Winnie Wright
August 5, 2014

Cameras that officers wear on their body can wirelessly download video from traffic stops and crime scenes.

Introducing the M-V-X 1000, the newest way Police Chief, Brian Childress, says his department is fighting crime in the digital age.

"This system will protect our officers and it will go hand in hand with the other projects were done to give our prosecutors better evidence to prosecute cases," said Brian Chidlress, City of Valdosta Chief of Police.

The camera has replaced older technology that required officers to sync their video with this device here at the Police Station. Now, they can upload video from various encounters remotely from their police cars.

So why use these portable cameras instead of the dash cams? Traffic Unit Supervisor, Sergeant Jeremyah Jones says not all incidents happen in front of police cars. Sometimes they are in homes, entertainment venues, or businesses.

"The camera is there for everybody's benefit, not just for the officer. Both sides can be seen. And if it came down to it, and it did need to be used as evidence, then it would be clear and a non-biased opinion of what happened," said Jeremyah Jones, Traffic Unit Supervisor.

Jones says the new video system is easier for officers because they don't have to be at the police station to upload video. It can easily feed in to the system from anywhere within a block or so from the police station. He says the M-V-X 1000 saves time and gives officers more opportunity to be on the roads.

Sergeant Jones also says officers aren't always in a safe environment. He says he gets peace of mind knowing every incident he could encounter will be recorded.