Local law enforcement agencies begin testing period of body cameras

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RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA TV) - Local law enforcement already uses dash cams, but this week the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office started a three month pilot program where they test out body cameras from three different manufacturers.

Rapid City Police Officer, Anthony Picketpin, says "it self-activates, we'll activate it when we get out and make contact with people or go on whatever call, we'll turn it on and it buffers back 30 seconds, so anything prior, 30 second prior to me turning it on, is recorded."

15 officers from the Rapid City Police Department and 15 deputies from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office were specifically picked to test out the new equipment

Technology and Records Manager for the Rapid City Police Department, Jennie Clabo, explains, “it's a combination of what their current job duties are as well as what shifts they're on. We wanted to make sure we caught all shifts because of different lighting and I mean different crimes happen.

With these new body cameras, it's an additional set of eyes for both the law enforcement and the community in addition to the camera's they already have.

"The greatest effect that it will have is that it is actually a piece of evidence now. It can be shown in the court, the lawyers can look at it, both sides,” states Clabo. “But the evidentiary part of it which is helping build a case and just show the truth."

Officers and deputies began training last week over just the policy and this week they continued part two.

On Monday they trained how to use the equipment, the software, and how to upload the videos.

They will continue testing the different cameras until the end of March when they will decide on one brand to use throughout both the police department and sheriff’s office.

According to a Rapid City police spokesman, the plan is to have both law enforcement agencies fully equipped with the cameras by this summer.