SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – As the Metro-Nashville Police Department continues to move closer to getting body cameras for the first time, many mid-state law enforcement agencies have been using them for years.
One such agency is Spring Hill, which began using bodycams about two years ago. Officials say 53 patrol officers wear them and soon detectives will also begin wearing them.
Lt. Justin Whitwell says the body cameras make Spring Hill a better department.
“It is beneficial for everybody. The safety of the officers and the safety of the victims, because we can catch everything on camera.”
According to Whitwell, the body cameras show what happened and are quick to dispell allegations of wrongdoing by an officer.
“Nobody can come back and say this happened or that happened. It’s right there on camera.”
Whitwell says body cameras are just another tool on an officer’s tool belt.
He also says knowing the camera documents everything at a scene reminds an officer to be professional while serving and protecting. “You have to be on your game because that camera will pick up everything.”
Whitwell says the cameras help in court cases, with the victims in court cases, as well as the officers.
But he says there is room for improvement in some areas.
“If you get in an altercation, and wrestle with someone, they can fall off, or break,” he says.
In most patrol cars, when lights and sirens activate, the dash cameras also turn on. But that is not typically the case with body cameras, meaning officers have to take a moment and remember to flip a switch. Whitwell admits that sometimes when it’s all hitting the fan and lives are on the line, officers do forget.
“That is definitely part of the problem. You are thinking about getting to that call in a safe manner other than trying to mess with the camera system, but we are training ourselves and that is what it is all about training.”
Spring Hill says it is looking at new technology where body cams will turn on when the lights and sirens are activated.