Salisbury Police receives funding for body cameras

The Salisbury Police Department has received funding to equip almost every police officer with a body camera.

The police chief told Fox 46 there were some difficulties he faced to bring the cameras to his department.

The department had to figure out a unique financial plan to fund the cameras. Instead of requesting money from the budget, which would have delayed the launch, Chief Rory Collins reached out to private donors and grants to make it possible.

Now that they are approved, officers are hitting the streets to see how much of a difference the cameras can make.

Lieutenant Andy Efird says they will begin to use them in hopes of holding both officers and citizens accountable.

"I'm not saying that our citizens or officers are lying, but there's always two sides to every story. And this would give the ability to see every side," Lieutenant Efird said.

Police Chief Rory Collins says he wanted body cameras in his department for more than two years. But it took a while to figure everything out.

The department will purchase 60 cameras for their staff of 82 officers. Each camera will cost $950 dollars.

Chief Collins  says he wants to clarify everyone's concerns with community meetings. He thinks the body cameras will be a huge success, saying they will build trust and strengthen officers' relationship with the community.

The department is hoping police officers will be equipped with the body cameras by sometime in early 2016.

Here's a full statement from Chief Collins regarding the body cameras:

"Our agency is moving forward with this implementation because the benefits of doing so are significant.  The utilization of body worn cameras by our police officers provides the potential to further enhance our ongoing efforts to build the trust of our citizens and to build and strengthen relationships with our community, both of which are essential ingredients for any law-enforcement agency to be successful.  By equipping our officers with body cameras, our citizens can rest in knowing that most officer/citizen encounters, which take place as part of an official law-enforcement activity, will be recorded.  In addition to providing an increased level of comfort to our citizens, having the ability to capture audio and video footage of police/citizen encounters, it will also enhance our ability to successfully prosecute cases at the court level, as well as serve as an administrative tool, which will enable us to more thoroughly investigate citizen complaints against our officers, and more closely monitor the quality of services and level of professionalism being provided to our community."