CULLMAN COUNTY, AL - The next time you are stopped by a Cullman County Sheriff's deputy, smile. You will likely be on candid camera!
Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainy purchased 46 body camera last September at a the cost of $34,000 a year.
The body camera worn by a Cullman County Sheriff's deputy records everything that happens during any interaction between a deputy and the public.
Cullman County Chief Deputy Max Bartlett said the cameras are a big investment but they protect the deputies.
"A lot of times you will see the public when the officer gets out with the camera on people will recognize the camera or they will ask is that a camera? [If] they are irate or disrespectful, their whole demeanor changes," Bartlett said.
Riots broke out in Ferguson, Missouri after a police officer shot an unarmed suspect. The cameras would allow the sheriff's office and the public to see exactly what happens in any sort of confrontation or use of deadly force.
"It stops a lot complaints. It gives you a way to see what the truth is, what transpired. It makes better officers. They like it backs them up," Bartlett said.
In fact, the company Axon Taser Body Cameras reports the number of complaints made against law enforcement agencies drop because of the cameras.
The cameras can record up to 12 hours and at the end of their shift, the cameras are returned to a docking station where it downloads its video.
Bartlett says the video cannot be altered by the sheriff deputies or administrators.
"We don't have any more problems than any other agency as far as our officers are misbehaving, but if this makes them better officers, that is what we want," Bartlett said.
The Cullman Police Department has also ordered the body cameras.