Police Chief shares experience with officer body cameras

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VINCENNES Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) –As Terre Haute Police Department contemplates the use of body cams, Vincennes Police Chief Bob Dunham said he has had positive experiences with the equipment and believes all departments should consider having them in the future.

“A lot of times when we respond to a call the situation is highly inflated,” said Chief Dunham. “People might say or do things that they don’t quite remember when they do calm down, so I’ve always got that footage to show what the officer was doing and how he handled the situation.”

He said in most cases if the parties involved re-watched the video, the situation would begin to de-escalate.

Dunham said it’s easier for smaller police departments to have equipment like body cameras because it typically costs less.

At a recent Terre Haute’s NAACP meeting, THPD Chief Shawn Keen responded to a few questions regarding body cameras, and if the force would consider getting them to improve their transparency with the public.

He said that they are open to looking into the subject matter, but have not committed to the idea.

In the case of a larger department such as Terre Haute, Dunham noted obtaining the funds may be a harder task, which Keen also touched on.

“This whole process is not going to be cheap,” said Keen. “It’s not a small expense by any means.”

Dunham highlighted the benefits of using the equipment.

“For somebody like Terre Haute PD, it’s something totally new,” said Dunham, adding, a lot of questions will be asked and research needs to be done to find what works best for their department and city.

Keen acknowledged the Terre Haute Department is in the earliest stage of considering the idea.

“So we are starting that process of reviewing it and see what we need, and you know it it’s a plan though it’s something you’ve got a plan well in advance.”

Keen said they are having a meeting Wednesday where they will have a body cam company will offer demonstrations of products.

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