KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – All Kinston police officers are required to wear a body cameras as part of their uniform, but how do you know when they are on and filming?
Kinston Police say they their officers have the choice to film or not to film using their body cameras, depending on the case.
Bill Johnston, the Director of Kinston’s Public Safety says officers don’t have to turn on their body cameras when going to every scene, while they are driving, or getting important or confidential information.
“There are some citizens encounters that we just don’t believe are in the best interest of the public to video. For instance, if we have a citizen who’s just asking for directions or how to get somewhere in the city, we don’t film that because storage is always an issue,” said Bill Johnson.
Johnston says if an officer deems the situation unsafe, they can turn the camera on by themselves. He says these cameras are important when gathering evidence.
“There are certain situations that they are required to record, most times when they are dispatched to an incident that has any type of potential to develop into a sort of dynamic event if you will. They are required to turn that on,” said Bill Johnson.
Officers are only able to turn the device on and off, they can’t alter or erase any data. After their shift ends, the video is downloaded to a sever.
Corporal b wells says he likes the cameras.. And believes it was a good investment for Kinston.
“I use it almost every call I go on, and i always check to make sure it’s working before i get out of the car,” said Corporal B Wells.
Wells says the best thing about the device is if you press play, it records 30 seconds before that.
“I can’t always get to the camera right away, and catch everything that is happening, so not only will i get there and press record, it backs up and presses 30 seconds before that.”
Johnston says the Kinston Police Department is working to require all departments to wear body cameras. That decision will be made in upcoming months.