Detroit police now wearing body cameras in 4th, 7th precincts

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Detroit police officers now on patrol wearing body cameras.

They're rolling out the new equipment in phases, starting with one precinct on the east side and another on the west side.

FOX 2: "How does it feel?

Officer: "It feels like nothing. Like I have a little pen right here."

Extra eyes and ears -- body cameras hit the streets Friday night for the first time at Detroit precincts 4 and 7 for a 60-day test run.  Each location will have 25 cameras at each.

"We want to make sure that the public feels comfortable as well as our officers," said Police Chief James Craig.

Detroit city council approved the body cams in a $5.2 million contract with Texas-based company WatchGuard Video, currently outfitting a third of the nation's systems.

These body cameras can be turned on and off by officers. But also, connect to their patrol cars and can be automatically activated by the officers speed or when their flashing lights are turned on.

"We believe that once we have the full integration of this technology we feel we can be the first large city police department that has integration between in-car and body worn."

So how do they work? Detroit Police Chief James Craig says officers simply check in by typing in their name.

While dashcam video will still be used, Craig says the body cams should work well catching action out of view like foot pursuits.

"We want to make sure we protect our officers from false allegations," Craig said. "And protect the community during stops."

The captured video is automatically downloaded then stored for 90 days. Craig said he purposely picked smaller precincts to test out the body cams.

"We want to make sure they work," Craig said. "Certainly there's going to be a few hiccups especially since it’s our first time doing it."

He believes this sense of transparency -- will quickly spread throughout the department.

About 50 of them are out now, if the next 60 day test run goes well, the next 1,500 body cameras will be distributed starting in August.