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Gettysburg considers body cameras for police officers

Written by Lillian Reed, The Evening Sun | Aug 11, 2015 4:15 PM
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Gettysburg Police Department may become the first in the county to acquire body cameras for officers if Gettysburg Borough Council approves the plans next month.

If approved, the department will purchase six cameras using funds from a private donation, Chief Joseph Dougherty said. He declined to give the name of the donor.

The cameras are a win-win for citizens and the police department, he said,

"If it keeps us out of just one civil suit by being able to document what actually happened in a situation, it's going to be well worth the money," Dougherty said, adding that the cameras are more reliable in court than witness evidence. "I've gotten no push back from officers. They're looking forward to this."

Dougherty presented information to council members Monday about the process of selecting a suitable body camera for the 12 officers on staff.

Gettysburg Police Officer Chris Folster examined two types of cameras over the past two months, Dougherty said.

The first camera was deemed unsuitable because the lens captured 170 degrees in surrounding images, wider than the officer was physically capable of seeing at one time, he said.

Folster reviewed a second camera that he wore on his person in a 30-day trial before compiling a report of his experiences, Dougherty said.

Council member Graham Weaver made a motion for council to approve the department's use of the cameras so long as they are paid for with outside donations.

Several members of council, including Susan Naugle and Rebecca Brown, expressed that they wanted to see more information about the cameras before they could consider approval. The motion was postponed until next month's meeting to allow council members time for review.

Dougherty agreed to give a demonstration of the camera's capabilities at the next public safety committee and borough council meetings.

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This article comes to us through a partnership between The Evening Sun and WITF. 

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