UPDATE 9/9/13 @ 11:55 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two dozen Huntington Police Department cruisers are one step closer to having new cameras installed.
City Council on Monday night approved the second and final reading of the ordinance.
The "dash cams" would record both audio and video.
Police Chief Skip Holbrook said the cameras also would increase officer safety, as well as safeguard against any abuse of authority by officers.
Holbrook said they hope to have the cameras installed in the next few months.
That is not the case, though, in Huntington -- at least for now.
"The level of the system we are hoping to purchase is not just the in car camera, but it's also the audio feature that is on the officers belt that is going to pick up that conversation, so we will have video evidence and also audio evidence," Holbrook said.
Huntington City Council gave the green light Monday to the first reading of an ordinance that would allow the department to install cameras on 24 cars.
Holbrook said it is good for a whole host of issues.
"Agency accountability and integrity, what I would think for a higher conviction rate in court," he said. "Probably more opportunity to see guilty pleas reduces less time officers are in court, more time for them to be on the streets policing."
Critics of cameras have questioned the "big brother" aspect for officers.
Holbrook said if officers are following the rules, there should be no issue.
"We do things correctly, constitutionally correct, morally correct and this is reassurance to everyone that we are in fact operating at that level," he said.
The cameras total cost is $157,000. The program under which the department wants to use is a three year lease-to-buy program.
Mayor Steve Williams says the first year is covered in grant money.
If the grant money didn't come through in the following two years, Williams says the city will absorb the cost.
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