Marshalltown Police Join Ranks Wearing Body Cameras

body-cams

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa– Marshalltown is joining the ranks of police departments across the state and country now wearing body cameras.

“If someone in Marshalltown encounters a uniformed police officer, more than likely, that officer is going to have a body camera,” said Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper.

In the past week, the department’s 26 body cameras hit the streets. The cameras are light weight and each comes with an on-off switch that officers will have to flip. The department’s new policy is to activate the cameras on all calls, traffic stops and other encounters with the public.

“The first couple days got some getting used to because it is one more thing that you have to turn on. It doesn’t activate automatically,” said Officer A.J. Accola.

Accola on average, he has been rolling ten times a day during his shift.

“Sometimes incidents can happen so quickly an officer might not have time to turn the camera on, but those are all some things, I guess challenges, that we’re going to have to take a look at and our policy will evolve as time goes on,” said Tupper.

The department used two federal grants worth $18,000 to cover most of the costs for the cameras. People and organizations in the community donated about $10,000 for the program. Tupper says the equipment needed for the data storage could end up being more expensive than the cameras, but he sees it as a worthwhile expense.

“I think the public at a point where they expect we have this equipment and to be quite honest with you, my officers want this equipment,” explained Tupper.

“Now, not only do I have my statement, but I’ve also got the video and audio to go with it,” said Accola.

The new body cameras won’t just help with officer safety, they will also hold them accountable as they protect and serve the community.

Marshalltown police plan to keep most video stored for up to 180 days. If it’s being used as evidence, it will be stored for as long as necessary.