New Bern Police Dept. testing body cameras

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – The New Bern Police Department is testing different brands of body cameras.

Chief Toussaint Summers, Jr. said his department needs to adapt to how technology’s changed police accountability.

“Every citizen out here has a camera on their phone,” Chief Summers said. “Oftentimes, when a citizen starts recording an incident, it’s after the incident has already started.”

New Bern Alderman Bernard White believes body cameras could provide what he calls a “third witness” in a confrontation between an officer and a citizen.

“Body cameras are something that they should have,” Alderman White said. “I think all law enforcement should have it.”

Before New Bern police officers start wearing the cameras, Lieutenant Doug Ipock said the department will test different camera brands for free before seeking approval to purchasing the cameras from the aldermen.

“Then the next phase would be to work towards purchasing them, training up all the officers, making sure that all the policies and procedures are correct,” Lt. Ipock said.

Officers are expected to start wearing the body cameras in 2017.

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