Martinsburg Police Launch Body-Worn Camera Program

  • Martinsburg Police Launch Body-Worn Camera Program

    Martinsburg Police Launch Body-Worn Camera Program

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced, today, the launch of its body-worn camera program. Officers first began to receive and utilize the new cameras on Wednesday, February 15th, and the department anticipates that all officers will have received the necessary equipment and training by the end of the week. MPD’s body-worn camera policies and procedures were approved by the Martinsburg City Council during February’s City Council Meeting which took place on February 9, 2017. The 45 new cameras will be operational and utilized during all patrol-related duties.

    Now in addition to an officer’s existing in-car camera system, all interactions with the public during official law enforcement activities will be recorded via a Taser Axon Body 2 video camera that is worn on the front of each officer’s uniform. With video buffering capabilities, a recording will be captured beginning 30 seconds prior to the officer activating the camera and will continue until the interaction is complete and the officer then stops the recording. Officers are also authorized to use discretion in deciding to not record interactions that involve sensitive locations or information.

    The body-worn cameras now being utilized by Martinsburg’s police officers feature high-definition video and audio recordings with a 142 degree horizontal field of view. The technology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, what the officer was actually able to see and hear in any given situation. The Martinsburg Police Department is confident that this cutting-edge technology will aid officers in gathering evidence, help to strengthen public trust in law enforcement, resolve allegations of misconduct by officers, and improve officer training and evaluation.

    The City of Martinsburg’s body cameras were acquired with funding approved by the Martinsburg City Council and supplemental grant funds from the United States Department of Justice. Chief Maury Richards spoke highly of the significant effort that has gone into launching MPD’s body-worn camera program, stating: “This project has been several years in the making and would not have been possible without the hard work and foresight of our former chief, Captain Kevin Miller, and now Lieutenant Scott Doyle who is leading the program. No technology is perfect, but studies have shown that the use of body-worn cameras has a positive impact on the behavior of both police and the public, while also reducing use of force incidents.”

    Deputy Chief Swartwood also praised the support that the department has received in launching the program. “We’re thankful to our city council and leadership for supporting us in making our body-worn camera program a reality, and we’re confident that this will provide a significant boost to our efforts in building strong police-community partnerships through communication, participation, and transparency,” Swartwood said.