WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Could gun-mounted cameras be the next big thing for law enforcement agencies?
Some agencies across the country are looking to add gun-mounted cameras to their officers weapons, according to a recent AP report. KSN spoke to several Kansas police departments about the pros and cons of gun-cameras.
“It’s in my opinion just another witness to the incident,” said Maize Police Lt. Craig Brasser.
Lt. Craig Brasser has been in the police force since 1994. In 1997, a dash camera was installed in his patrol unit.
“I had an in-car video camera and I think it’s great. It saved me on more than one complaint,” Brasser said.
Brasser said in-car cameras have the capability of capturing the sights and sounds of a scene. He said it’s one of the reasons in-car cameras as well as body cameras have become so popular in the police field.
“People are going to say their stories and however they interpret what they saw and what happened, but the video is the video and it’s just another account of what happened,”
KSN asked Brasser what he thought about outfitting officers with gun-mounted cameras.
“I think it would definitely give another vantage point to the actual incident if it were a deadly force incident,” Brasser said. “It would prevent the arms and the holding your arms out and view being obstructed by your hands, your arms and the weapon itself. Here again, it’s another vantage point, view-point that people can see, just another witness.”
Brasser added there could be some disadvantages to gun cameras.
“There are a lot of use-of-force incidents that we get involved in that are not deadly force incidents and if that’s the only weapon drawn and that’s the only camera you have it’s never going to be activated, so I think it could be a good enhancement to your body camera and or your in-car camera, but i don’t think it will replace it,” he said.
KSN also reached out to Wichita police about gun-mounted cameras.
“Body-worn cameras continue to be a vital part of our informational gathering process,” said Wichita police spokesperson Officer Charley Davidson.
Last week, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said body cameras have helped his department settle numerous issues.
“We are resolving a lot of complaints by just allowing citizens to come in and review video,” said Chief Gordon Ramsay.
Right now, all Wichita beat officers have body cameras. Ramsay said he is working to find the funds to outfit the entire department with body cameras.
“Id say its 95 percent want them. They don’t like to go out on the streets without them. Sergeants want them. I have heard detectives want them, so it’s the future.”
Speaking of the future, Ramsay said the department is currently trying out 12 new body cameras with blue-tooth capability. The blue-tooth allows the cameras to turn on automatically when a taser is removed from a holster, when the lights are turned on in a squad car or when an officer removed the shotgun from the squad car.
Wichita police did not comment if gun-mounted cameras would be something the department would be interested in, citing they would need to look into gun cameras more thoroughly.
Lt. Brasser with Maize police said his department is currently working on outfitting officers with body cameras.