CMPD officers just weeks away from wearing body cameras

Police body cameras could have answered many questions in Ferguson

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A source within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tells WBTV, officers are just weeks away from wearing body cameras.

The topic has been a popular one recently, with the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson Missouri. Police there do not wear body cameras but CMPD officials are in the process of pricing and ordering the cameras.

"With such a litigious society, more and more people are finding a need to have a solid defense on both sides," said International Security Expert Karl de la Guerra. A former deputy, de la Guerra is a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Certified police instructor. He says the need for the cameras is at an all time high.

"It's human nature, when people know they are on camera, and they know that they are being recorded, there's a certain behavioral thing that makes people want to just behave themselves," he said.

Currently, the largest police force in the area is without the technology. WBTV spoke with CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe over the summer, and he says he's excited about the cameras.

"Having our officers out there equipped with body cameras not only provides the level of trust within our community, but from a technology perspective, it gives us a lot more," he said.

Monroe asked Charlotte City Council members for $250,000 to pay for the cameras, but $500,000 worth of cameras will hit the street thanks to private donations from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Foundation.

While CMPD officers are still waiting, some of the smaller departments like the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office and Cherryville Police Department have been using the cameras for months.

"I think it's a great idea for any department regardless of the size because the responsibility to the community is exactly the same," de la Guerra said.

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