MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - For more than a decade, the Madison Police Department has utilized dashboard mounted cameras in all of its vehicles. Some of the first cameras the department installed are still in use today, no longer covered by warranty and in need of repair.
Thanks to some financial help from the City of Madison, the department will be able to get 28 new cameras in the next month.
"We had this opportunity, another sheriff's department purchased a number of cameras, but they don't need all of them, so they've offered to sell them to us at half price." said Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey. "They're brand new and in the box."
Typically the cameras cost more than $5,000 each, but the department will get them for $2,500 for a total price tag of $70,000. In order to help foot the bill, the city's engineering department offered to reallocate $40,000 from its budget.
Noting how vital the cameras are, city council members approved the remaining $30,000 to come from the city's special projects fund Monday.
"The cameras are invaluable," said Chief Muncey.
Police car dash cams proved to be instrumental for the Madison Police Department in the last two months. Chief Muncey said video from them helped to tell part of the story in both the incident involving Madison Police Officer Eric Parker, as well as the March 1st Limestone County wreck that claimed four lives.
"We are a department that's transparent, we believe in that. We understand completely who we work for and that's our citizens."
While police body cameras continue to be a growing trend nationally, he said, for now, the dash cams are a more reliable and more economical purchase for the city.
"The bottom line is what we have now is proven technology with cameras in the car that work and they work great and they provide so many things that the body cams do not provide. In the future we may go with the body cam, but right now we're going to continue working with what we have."