The Plaquemine Police Department in Iberville Parish now has body cameras for some of its officers.
Plaquemine Police Chief Kenny Payne said they ordered 12 cameras for their patrol officers and supervisors at a cost of $10,000, paid by the police department. Cpl. Austin Wintz has been with Plaquemine PD for the past three years and said the tool is additional security.
"People see you got a camera on, their attitude changes," said Cpl. Wintz. "They'll go from being hostile with us and combative to, 'Oh, they've got a camera.'"
So any call Cpl. Wintz responds to, his camera is always rolling. Agreeing with Cpl. Wintz, Chief Payne said the cameras serve a two-fold purpose.
"The officers are going to be better behaved. They're going to by the numbers. The people we're dealing with, when they know we're being recording, they're going to go by the numbers," said Chief Payne.
Chief Payne said after an officer gets in for the day, they plug in their cameras to a stand alone server, where the video uploads and is stored for at least six months. He said the video cannot be altered once recorded and it can be used as evidence in court if need be. More importantly though, he said when police relationships are strained, he feels this tool can fix that.
"We believe that these devices will improve our community police relations. It takes the guess work out of it. It takes the rumor and interpretation out of what occurred. It's on video. You can't disprove the video," said Chief Payne.
Chief Payne said there are 24 officers on the department and long-term, he hopes to be able to get enough for all the officers.