Columbia Police to start using body cameras in 2016

CPD body cameras.jpg

Columbia, SC (WACH) -- "It's about building trust and legitimacy in the community and embracing technology to help us be a better police force," said Chief Skip Holbrook with Columbia Police Department at a news conference Thursday.

The Columbia City Council approved funding for the Columbia Police Department to outfit their officers with body cams.

Columbia Police is expected to receive 300 cameras, costing $169,565. $79,000 will come from their justice assistance grant program. The remaining will come from a camera fund.

The chief stated it his ultimate goal to have all Columbia Police officers to be equipped with body cameras.

Holbrook said the first batch will go out in the next 30-45 days.

The manufacturer, Coban, also makes the department's in-car cameras. The body cameras come with audio and video, something Columbia Police noted as key in the line of duty. Holbrook said it's particularly important to them because they want the cameras to best reflect what they see.

"There's so many instances where officers engage situations and it's one person's word against another. By using something like a body cam it provides that other view that is indisputable as to what transpired on the scene," said Captain Joseph Rowson, a 24-year law enforcement veteran.

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