Ferguson police now wearing body cameras

BY Ayan Sheikh  September 1, 2014 at 2:03 PM EST
Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, began wearing body cameras on Saturday.  Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, began wearing body cameras on Saturday. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday began wearing body cameras attached to their uniforms following weeks of unrest over the killing of an unarmed black teenage boy by a white police officer.

The Ferguson police department received approximately 50 body cameras donated by two private companies, Safety Visions and Digital Ally last week, said Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson. The body cameras are equipped to record sound and audio.

Jackson said the new cameras, which can fit on a lapel or on sunglasses, have been well received. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that officers are “really enjoying them,” and that “they are trying to get used to using them.”

Jackson also said some officers received special training on how to use the new devices. He added that officers were able to use the cameras to record footage of crowd members taunting the police during a protest march on Saturday.

Interest in the use of this technology among police departments around the country has risen significantly since the death of Michael Brown last month. The violent protests that followed the teenager’s killing drew in worldwide attention and sparked a debate over race relations as well as the use of military-style force by local police. Law enforcement officials and witnesses gave varying accounts of the Aug. 9 shooting. This has pushed police departments to use body cameras to collect accurate record of police and civilian interactions.