Body cameras cut down on complaints against WPPD

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

The West Point Police Department began using body cameras on Sept. 9, and in that time law enforcement officials say officer complaints have reduced drastically.
West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said the body cameras have been a successful asset to the police department since they have been in use.
“We began using them first because they are a useful tool for prosecution, and it’s a tool for risk management,” Brinkley said. “There’s always people who want to sue the police for some kind of misconduct, and the body cameras help prevent that. They help us to investigate complaints. The advantages vastly outweigh the disadvantages.”
Brinkley said there have been a few instances where the department had to pull up the body camera footage to use in court, but most cases could be solved without it, but it was there to use if it is needed.
WPPD Sgt. Bryan Anderson said the department received one or two complaints per week before it started using the body cameras, but they have only received a few since the cameras have been in use.
“Every department, because of the nature of what we do, will have a significant number of complaints,” Brinkley said. “We already knew from talking to other departments who have deployed the body cameras that complaints would go down, but I didn’t know they would go down that much.”
Brinkley said officers must turn on body cameras during any contact with the public.
“Citizens’ and officers’ reactions have been positive,” Anderson said. “Both on our part and citizens’, traffic stops have gone a lot smoother because people see the camera and know the interaction is being recorded.”
Brinkley said the department purchased the cameras, server and storage unit, and the server held 32 terabytes of video footage, which should last about 30 years.