POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - Next time you see a Pocatello Police officer, smile. You're on camera.
Starting Thursday, Feb. 18, all Pocatello Police officers will be wearing a Panasonic i-Pro BWC4000 Body-Worn Camera. The department recently ordered 100 cameras, which will be enough for all sworn officers, including those in training, and leave a few to spare.
“Since Chief Schei started as Chief little over a year and a half ago, we’ve been really focused on getting (body cameras) and getting the latest technology,” said Captain Cliff Kelley.
The body cams will pair with the Panasonic in-car dash cameras the force is currently using. Dash cameras have been part of the PPD's arsenal since the 90s, which have been useful to the department, but can leave important information out of frame.
“That’s where this will play in, when they go off camera of what’s caught on the in-car camera, they’ll also have the view on the officer, and those two views will integrate to see how things unfold,” Kelley said.
Body cameras are becoming standard in police work, Kelley said. They can often deter people from being disruptive when interacting with police, and they add a level of accountability to officers, Kelley said.
“Officers, they understand they’re being recorded as well,” Kelley said. “That’s why I say they’re protection for the community and for the officers. It does give an account of what happened."
Officers are required to turn on their cameras whenever they perform interactive duties like traffic stops and field interviews, and anytime a situation becomes aggravated.