The Greenville Police Department (City) has completed all procurement and preparations to implement its body-worn camera program. The department will begin training and issuing the video recording systems to its patrol officers and many uniformed specialized officers on April 19, and will complete training by May 5.
After a competitive-bid process and careful evaluation by Police, City Information Technology and a member of the Public Safety Citizens Review Board, the City selected the Flex-2 body camera by Axon. This system met or exceeded all of the City’s requirements, including those for training officers, supervisors and prosecutors. Prior to receiving the body cameras, officers will undergo classroom instruction on device operation and policy expectations. Further, Axon provides Cloud storage of video and a prosecutor software platform to enable convenient access to prosecutors for courtroom preparation, hearings and trial.
In June 2015, South Carolina enacted a law that encouraged police use of body-worn cameras and required a State-approved policy for managing such a program. At about the same time, the US Department of Justice/Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) solicited grant proposals. The Greenville Police Department applied and was among 73 recipients from a pool of 283 nationwide. BJA awarded $93,750 to the City, and the Greenville City Council appropriated an additional $126,250 to fully fund equipment acquisition and first-year implementation costs.
“We believe that the use of body-worn cameras is an important step forward in preventing and addressing police-community conflict. They can help us diffuse tensions and need for force, and can help us better understand and explain those instances where police actions are questioned,” said Police Chief Ken Miller. “While they may not fully capture every event or every angle, these cameras are extraordinarily useful in evaluating interactions between the police and public, and in improving professional performance.”