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Gone are the days of not holding police accountable for their actions (hopefully) in Madison, Alabama, where officers are now required to wear body cameras.

Sheriff Blake Dorning has announced all uniformed deputies will now wear Taser body cameras while on patrol. These front-worn devices record video and audio to assist in accountability and oversight. The cameras will act as eyes and ear for events that unfold. Deputies and investigators will use these recording as necessary for evidence purposes, in court or for training.

Ninety of the department’s patrol officers will wear body cameras that will be clipped to the front of their uniforms. It is their job before every interaction to turn on the device, the purpose of which is to provide accurate information.

“The camera provides an accurate description of events that occurred,” said Sgt. Tim Whisante. “Two sides can’t be different. The camera doesn’t lie.”

Deputies can turn the camera on manually and review and mark parts of the video that can be saved and backed up in a cloud system.

Whisante said the deputies turn them on manually, after which they record all actions that unfold. He said the images are automatically uploaded and archived in a Cloud system, and deputies cannot edit or delete footage manually. Deputies can review the footage in their in-car Mobile Data Terminal for categorization and to determine relevancy for future retrieval and review.

The use of equipment — a total of $131,000 — has been in effect for a week.

Deputies underwent two months of training on how to use the devices. To date, Madison County is just a handful of police departments to implement body cameras, including Ferguson, Mo., where unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot by Officer Darren Wilson, inciting a wave of protests and questionable actions by police.


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