Natchez police officers to wear cameras

Published 12:03 am Friday, October 6, 2017

NATCHEZ — Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong recently delivered on his promise to outfit the department’s officers with body cameras.

The board of aldermen last week approved Armstrong’s request for 30 new cameras, costing approximately $32,000 for the first year. Armstrong said the cameras would cost approximately $10,500 the following two years to cover licensing and storage fees.

Armstrong said the cameras will enable officers to review footage on their cell phones to aid in writing reports, while also noting the officers will not have the capability to alter the footage.

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When officers place their cameras on a docking station, the cameras will automatically upload the footage into cloud storage, where it will remain for a set number of days, Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the results of body cameras are twofold — they provide a benefit for both the officers and the public.

“It would minimize complaints about police officer’s behavior, it would hold (officers) more accountable, it would show the pubic that we’re transparent, and it can assist the officers in testifying in court and collection (of) evidence,” Armstrong said.

Prompted by a question from Ward 2 Alderman Billie Joe Frazier, Armstrong said he would be drawing up a “very strict” written policy that each officer will sign before handling the cameras.

Obtaining body cameras for the police department was one specific, immediate objective Armstrong mentioned when he was selected as the next police chief in July.