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SLCPD issues body-cams to recruits

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Posted at 12:28 PM, Jan 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-09 14:40:34-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City police officers are using a tool that helps capture key moments that happen while on duty.

The tool is a body camera, and a group of new recruits with the Salt Lake City Police Department got their hands on the new technology for the first time Thursday.

The high-resolution cameras are worn on their uniforms or glasses. Police officers record whatever they encounter, including traffic stops, assaults and shootings. Officers said they have used the equipment for almost a year now, and they said it's allowed them to minimize allegations of police misconduct and excessive force.

Det. Bill Silver who heads the department's body camera program told recruits that the footage is a good indicator of their success or failure on the job.

"If he makes a mistake in the field or he oversteps his authority, uses unwarranted use of force on somebody... it's recorded, it's going to upload," he said. "He's not going to be able to get away from that action. It's going to be there."

Administrators said another benefit of the digital evidence is that it allows them to streamline their own work with prosecutors and defense attorneys. They said attorneys and judges can clearly see from the footage whether or not the case should or shouldn't go to trial.