Birmingham city council approves money for upgraded body cameras

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 8:50 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham City Council is hoping new and improved body cameras will help the police department protect themselves and save lives.

The council approved spending a quarter of a million dollars for new body cameras for officers.

Police Chief Patrick Smith thinks the upgrade in technology will make a difference. The chief has been working on improving the department’s equipment. The key is getting officers the latest information on any crime scene in the field as quickly as a possible.

“The ones we have now have to stay in a docking station. It takes some time before they can be downloaded and reviewed,” said Chief Patrick Smith.

The new cameras will be sent immediately to the cloud and can be accessed by the command center at police headquarters. Cameras can be turned on from the center.

“Anytime we can save time and minutes on any emergency call, we can get information to the officer and potentially saving the lives of the officers and members of the public,” said Hunter Williams.

The city is putting up a quarter of million dollars which will match another quarter of million dollars in federal grants.

Chief Smith says these body cameras will tie directly into the real time crime center once it opens.

“It’s our plan to build a real time crime center so we can have eyes on critical incidents as they happen,” said Chief Smith.

The chief hopes to have that crime center open later this year.

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