WALKER, LA (WAFB) - The Walker Police Department boasts to be the first department in Livingston Parish with body cameras.
"Over the last several years, there have been an increasing number of shootings and other incidents of violence around the country," said Walker Police Captain John Sharp. "Frequently, there are conflicting stories between police, offenders and witnesses concerning these incidents and evidence of what happened is often inconclusive. In order to take a proactive approach to the potential for such incidents, the Walker Police Department and City of Walker Officials decided to implement a body camera program."
The 18 devices come equipped with a screen to review video in the field. They also automatically download to a secure server and cannot be deleted or changed. The bill for the cameras is $12,610, about $700 per unit.
Captain Sharp says once the city decided to buy the cameras, donations started pouring in from area businesses which offset most of the cost.
"From the standpoint of the City, we have seen a great many instances in which police action results in lawsuits against both the officers involved and the municipality," said Walker Mayor Rick Ramsey. "Even when the police are exonerated, the cost of defending a suit by someone who claims that the police exceeded their authority is staggering. Given the incidents of violence we have seen around the country and the results of we feel that implementing a body camera program to protect our officers and the public is the prudent thing to do."
Training for the new body cams will begin in the next few days.