Houma Police Officers Get Body Cameras

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HOUMA, La. (WGNO) – After a year of testing out different body cameras the Houma Police Department has made their pick. Police Chief Todd Duplantis says in the next couple of weeks every officer, 85 in all, will be issued a Taser Body Camera.

The cameras are about the size of an iPhone. They snap on to your shirt. Chief Duplantis says the video is clear, storage space won’t be an issue, and the battery lasts for 12 hours.

“I’ve discovered that agencies who have the body cameras have a huge reduction in officer use of force complaints and citizen complaints, so it’s just a huge benefit to the officers and the public,” explains Duplantis.

The city council has unanimously approved their use. The chief did not think they would get much resistance especially with what’s going on in Ferguson.

“That event can happen anywhere. The difference is if there was body cameras on these officers what can happen, you can squash events like that the day of the event. We can bring out a body camera and you can see exactly what happened,” says Duplantis.

Yet the body cameras are not foolproof. Earlier this month NOPD officer Lisa Lewis shot a man in the head during a traffic stop in Algiers. Now the victim’s attorney is saying not only was her body camera off, but her partner’s camera was turned off as well.

Chief Duplantis says he’s implementing a policy to avoid a similar situation.

“I signed that policy five minutes ago. Five minutes before you got here I signed the policy,” says Duplantis.

The policy says patrol officers must video all public contacts including traffic stops and dispatch calls.