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Charleston Mayor submits application for 90 police officer body cameras

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 11:58 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The Charleston Police Department could be receiving some upgraded equipment as Mayor Amy Goodwin submitted an application for a grant to purchase body cameras Monday night.

“This is critical funding for a critical project and that’s body cameras for our police officers,” Goodwin said.

On April 30, Charleston Police officers responded to what became an officer-involved shooting. After the incident, Goodwin requested Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt to come up with a plan of action for training and equipment for his police department. In his letter, Hunt requested 90 more body cameras.

Goodwin said receiving the new cameras will ensure that every officer has a body camera, as the sharing of body cameras has made it difficult for every officer to be covered at all times.

“In the past we’ve been sharing body cameras. Sometimes the battery would not be charged enough for the next shift to come on,” she said. “This is just another safeguard in place that we feel is critical for our police officers.”

Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said the new cameras have a longer battery life and a quick-change detachable battery. He said this will be a significant upgrade to the cameras they currently use as they have an “internal battery which requires the camera to charge in a docking station for a long period of time.”

“The ultimate goal is to replace all of the old body worn cameras due to their dated limitations,” Hunt said. “But we will likely have to run the new (cameras) with the (some of the) old (cameras) until funding is secured to equip every officer on our department.

Hunt said currently the department is slotted for 173 patrol officers but due to a large number of officer retiring, they’re now down to 156 officers. He said they are set to swear in five new officers next month and are currently in the hiring process.

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