CMPD expands use of body cameras

- The use of body cameras is expanding for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

By the end of the month, every member of the department below the rank of deputy chief will have a body camera on duty, and for secondary employment.

The announcement to expand the use of body cameras comes after an associated press review showed many of the country's biggest cities, including Charlotte, don't require body cameras for officers who moonlight in their uniforms at security jobs.

"Just this morning in court, we were playing a body camera video in front of the judge," Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Jetton said. 

It's a piece of technology that, for the past few years, has been taking police departments across the country by storm.

"These body cameras are a huge milestone for us in the criminal justice system," Jetton said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department began using body cameras in 2015. Off-duty officers, though, were not required to use them while moonlighting. By the end of the month, that will change.

"I don't see any negatives with everyone having body cameras, excluding the cost factor," Jetton said. "But if you had a choice of everyone having a body camera, not even a question. The only negative I could think of is cost to taxpayers, but in looking at that compared to benefits these provide, and transparency and truth, 100 percent it's worth it from the financial side."

Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Jetton said body cameras have been a game-changer, especially in the criminal justice system.

"It's the transparency it provides," Jetton said. "And that's what everyone wants to know is the truth and exactly what happened, and these cams are providing that."

And more police departments in the area, including Tega Cay Police, are jumping on board to hit record.

"I think it holds everyone to a higher standard," Jetton said. "It's protection for everybody and transparency for everybody, and they're great."

The Associated Press review of the nation's 20 biggest cities found just five have rules mandating body cameras for uniformed officers doing work outside their regular hours.

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