Sheffield officers being outfitted with new body cameras

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SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) - At a time when police officers are under tremendous scrutiny across the nation for performing their duties, many departments are turning to technology to protect themselves.  Just this week, the city of Sheffield invested thousands of dollars to arm their officers not with guns, but cameras.

In the coming days, when officers strap on their duty belts and head out on patrol they will have an additional piece of equipment to clip on.  Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said he’s been given the go-ahead to purchase 12 body cameras for his officers to use.

“It’s for the officer’s safety, it’s for the defendant’s safety, it’s for making good quality cases in court, and it’s also for proving maybe somebody didn’t do something,” stated Ray.

Years ago, Sheffield Police purchased a first generation camera which had limited capabilities.  Not only can these new cameras work in difficult lighting situations, they’re tamper proof.

“An officer can actually take the camera, take it off and review what he just did. He can’t tamper with it which is important. He can’t erase something that maybe he doesn’t want somebody to see, somebody else to see it,” Ray explained. “He can’t do that.”

Chief Ray added the small investment now, could potentially save the department tens of thousands of dollars if a lawsuit ever arose.

Other police departments across the Shoals are looking at this same camera technology for their officers.  Sheffield Police hope to have their officers wearing the cameras in the next couple of weeks.