Exeter to buy body camera

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Struble: 'I want this department to be as transparent as possible'

The Exeter Police Department will soon have a new piece of equipment that Police Chief Morgan Struble hopes will keep the department as transparent as possible.

In the next three weeks, Struble will receive a body camera purchased for $400 from Taser international.

"I want this department to be as transparent as possible, and if someone has a complaint, I want us and the mayor to be able to sit down, review the video and work out any issues," Struble said.

The camera, about the size of a deck of cards, will be mounted on Struble's chest while he is on duty. It employs a wide-angle lens and records video and audio, and it can function in low-light situations, as well. It has an on and off button on the front of the camera, and it prerecords two minutes of video before being turned on.

Struble proposed buying the camera because he has not been able to locate the black box that houses video recorded by his vehicle's dash camera. Replacing the black box would cost about $500, so Struble opted to purchase the body camera because it is cheaper and it will record more than the dash camera would.

"I am definitely for it," said Jim Morse, Exeter alderman. "If we have to go to court over anything, we'll have the proof right there."

Struble said with recent incidents involving police, such as the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, body cameras are becoming more popular among law enforcement.

"With recent events, I can see law enforcement heading more in the direction of body cameras," he said. "Some departments are even employing body and dash camera combos."

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