After 12 years, Milton police are getting body cameras

By Ben Brasch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Milton City Council has approved a quarter-million-dollar contract to outfit its police force with body cameras.

City spokeswoman Shannon Ferguson said the contract from Decatur-based Utility Associates Inc. also includes an upgrade to the department’s in-car camera system.

Police spokesman Capt. Charles Barstow said the $267,840 that the Council approved Monday will cover “every possible expense for a five-year period including hardware, maintenance, installation and storage of data.” After the five years, Barstow said they would re-evaluate the service.

He said there wasn’t a specific instance that spurred the 12-year-old department to get the cameras; instead it was “the inevitability of all agencies eventually acquiring body cameras.” Barstow said the cameras are for the department’s 24 or so patrol officers, and he said he expects they will start using them in May.

Roswell has had two recent notable incidents recorded by body cameras: in July when now-fired officers used a coin-toss app to determine whether or not they would arrest a woman and then in early January when footage showed a since-demoted sergeant telling an officer to leave a 13-year-old boy with soaked shirtsleeves in a squad car on a bitterly cold January night so he would answers questions differently.

Barstow said Milton’s officers are excited about the body cameras because the recordings would help defend against any false claims of wrongdoing.

“This technology truly provides an objective and encompassing account of interactions with our officers and also provides crucial evidence to help in the successful prosecution of violations of law,” he said.

The new, smaller in-car cameras not only will improve image quality, Barstow said, but they will sync with body cameras so footage from both give a “true real-time perspective when looking at both angles of video.”

Source: AJC

Kristen Jaynes