Sheriff's office to order more than 400 body cameras for deputies

CPSO to order 400+ body cameras for deputies

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With officer-involved shootings making headlines in recent years, more agencies are investing in body cameras.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office deputies may be next to be outfitted with the recording technology.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said it has taken two years for his department to decide on the right camera.

"You're fixing to spend $1.5 to 2.5 million, you don't want to get trashed," said Mancuso, "You don't want to, a year from now, be scratching your head saying 'Oh, I bought the wrong thing.'"

Mancuso said his IT department tested 16 different body cameras in an effort to find just the right technology.

"Our in-car cameras - they work on speed; if you get a certain speed it kicks on," explained Mancuso. "If you turn your lights on, it kicks on. If you key your mic up for certain calls, it kicks on. There are certain things that activate the camera without the officer having to do anything."

The sheriff wanted to find a body camera that works the same way to reduce the possibility of human error. He said current protocol says if a deputy turned off his dash cam, there would be consequences.

"We had a deputy that we actually charged with a crime and fired him," said  Mancuso, "One of the compelling factors in that was he didn't have his camera on, didn't have his audio on."

He said the new camera system will not only create transparency with the public, but also help with daily law and order.

"Help us with everyday crimes, and how we investigate, and how we can go back and look at an interview we had with somebody or an interaction with somebody," said the sheriff.

In response to the officer-involved shootings unfolding across the country, Mancuso said these cameras will help protect those officers who do follow protocol.

"They are under the microscope; they are being criticized; their communities in some cases are being turned upside down because of their actions," said Mancuso, "That's not the way we as a society are supposed to act."

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