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East Ridge Police Department first in area to put body cameras to use

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EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB) -

The East Ridge Police Department has outfitted their officers with body cameras, starting today.

They are the first department in the area to equip their officers with them.

The first day of training for the body cameras was Tuesday and the officers are already clipping them onto their uniforms. Each of the 32 officers on duty will use these cameras every day and the footage will be reviewed and saved just like the dash cam video in their cruisers, in hopes to get a look at every angle of what's happening on a call.

These cameras are user-friendly, and will now be attached to every officer in the East Ridge Police Department.

"On your major incidents, you're gonna have dual footage. If your car doesn't get it, hopefully the body cam will," said Chief J.R. Reed.

Each camera is acting as an extra set of eyes in the community, to protect both the officer and the citizen.

While each camera can record continuously up to 5.5 hours, an officer is only required to record whenever they out on a call. Each video is stored on the department's server at the end of shift and later transferred to a DVD back up. Although, the body-wear-camera policy says not every video is saved. "We do purge some stuff that's non-criminal action; if we get out with someone who's asking for directions that would be info we'd purge," said Chief Reed.

Chief Reed says each officer will be assigned a specific camera. "Based on the serial number, [the cameras] will be attached to an officer that way we know who has what. The cameras are specific to the officers as well on their data."

That keeps the record straight and officers accountable. "This is a professional field and officers should have a professional attitude and with that you should have accountability and transparency. This goes along with that," said Reed.

According to the policy, supervisors will randomly review the body wear camera recordings to ensure all equipment is operating properly and that officers are using them in accordance with the policy. However, the policy doesn't say anything about any disciplinary action, if they're not used.

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