GPD raises bar for NC policing, equips all officers with body cameras

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Greenville Police Department received the last of its nearly 200 body cameras.

The department is setting a standard across the state on how technology and policing go hand-in-hand.

Samuel Paldino is an officer with GPD.

Paldino said, “It took me a while to get used to it. When I first was issued a body camera it was second nature.”

He said it took some getting used too.

“So I would get out of the vehicle and sometimes half-way through an encounter with a citizen and would realize that I didn’t have it on,” said Paldino.

He said the body camera is now about as routine as brushing your teeth; it’s a new tool on his belt.

“I try to turn on my body camera before I even check on the call, so every thing’s there,” Paldino said. “You can hear me checking on the radio, you know where I am. Often times I’ll even talk to the camera and say ‘This is what I’m seeing’ or ‘This is why I’m here.”

GPD now has a body camera for every officer in the department.

Deputy Chief Ted Sauls said, “I mean you can imagine how it is when two officers are on scene with a call and one has a camera and one does not have a camera. What you wanted to see, or what the citizen wants to see, is what the other officer saw who didn’t have the camera.”

The cameras are attached to the officer’s chest and moves right along with the officer.

Deputy Chief Sauls admitted the system isn’t perfect.

“There’s also the human error of ‘Did I hit the button right?’, ‘Did I get it on in time?’, ‘There’s the technology error of is the battery charged?’, ‘Did I fill up my camera already?”

Taking it step-by-step, they hope this move brings transparency to their work.

Sauls said, “Trust and legitimacy is what we’re all about. As a progressive department we are always looking for ways to show that we want that trust. So it’s our hope that if they’re party to an incident where the video cameras being used they be able to see for themselves.”

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