In July, the Pocatello City Council approved using more than $166,000 from the 2020 Capital Contingency funds for new technology at the police department. That technology includes Panasonic Redaction software and an upgraded capacity on the city's current server. Thursday morning, officers attended training to learn how to use another piece of new technology: body cameras.
“The biggest thing that it adds is protection for the officers," said Lt. Trent Whitney. "Contrary to popular belief, officers are out there doing the right thing.”
That added protection comes from the Pocatello Police Department’s new body cameras.
“As soon as they’re done with their training today they’ll be out wearing their cameras,” stated Lt. Whitney at the training. Officers met at the Pocatello Water Department building Thursday morning for training. They learned the different functions of their new cameras, how to properly charge them, how to integrate them into their vehicle's camera system, as well as any questions they had.
As the meeting came to a close, officers clipped on their new gear and got into their patrol vehicles. “They’re headed out on the street!” exclaimed Lt. Whitney.
The department bought 106 body cameras which means every sworn officer and every animal patrol officer will wear one. That also leaves a few extra cameras for new officers and for backup.
“We wanted to do this some time ago, but Panasonic was coming out with a brand new camera system," explained Lt. Whitney. "We didn’t want to buy the old camera system and miss out on the opportunity of having the new cameras.”
Although the city council approved purchasing the new body cameras in July, the pandemic caused a slow down in production. "Otherwise, we would have probably had these about nine months ago," added Lt. Whitney.
Lt. Whitney explained the new body cameras will integrate with cameras already inside police vehicles “and we’re the only agency in Idaho that will not have one but two views of every situation -- if the car is able to film the situation as well.”
Having an extra set of eyes, so to say, helps bring peace of mind to the department. “This is for our protection," stated Lt. Whitney. "To make sure we are documenting things that we are doing, and that the public knows we’re doing the right thing.”
The new body cameras are always on and when officers are called out to a scene they activate the camera to save the footage being recorded during the call. The cameras are also capable of recording what type of call the officer is responding to with just a few clicks of a button.