Detroit police to have body cameras at all precincts by end of year

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The Detroit Police Department will have body cameras at all precincts by the end of this year.

Along with the roll out, there have been a reduction in officer complaints. From August of 2016 to August of 2017, officer complaints dropped seven percent.

Where did they see the biggest reduction? The two precincts where the body cameras were rolled out. So let’s flip the camera and show you what the camera sees.

"I’m placing it on the camera mount,” said one officer. “I’m activating my camera.”

Cameras are not just moving on bodies - but also mounted inside the squad cars showing multiple angles. And all the cameras are connected and talk to each other.

FOX 2 got a demo of how DPD's cameras work, which when they were first rolled out were among the most unique in the entire country.

"Our system is a watch guard system, it’s cutting edge,” said Assistant Chief A.C. White. "(In the old days) you had a delay from the time the officer exited the vehicle to the time the officer activated the body camera.  You didn’t pick up everything."

When officers want to start rolling, "You just press the button in front one time," said an officer. And press twice to stop it.

“If I turn my overhead lights on that activates the dash cam, my camera and my partner's camera,” said one officer.

But the cameras are also smart enough to just come on at certain times. And all the cameras come on, the dash cam, the body cameras on both officers and a camera facing whoever is in the back seat of the police car.

“The camera only shuts off if you turn it off yourself," said an officer. Once he or she is done, the video is then categorized by incident.

FOX 2: "Officer complaints and vice versa seem to be down, do you think that’s attributable to body cameras?"

"Absolutely, it’s not unusual," Police Chief James Craig said. 

Craig points to body cameras for the 7 percent reduction in officer complaints in just over a year - important in a rapidly changing policing environment.
“There’s a lot of sensitivity around policing matters in urban America," White said. "“We’re not always going to get it right but here are the facts and circumstances I dealt with when I made that evaluation."