Wildwood Crest Police Reveal Body Cameras - myfoxcarolinas.com

Wildwood Crest Police Reveal Body Cameras

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Wildwood Crest, N.J.- Some police officers in our area are using new body cameras to help them protect and serve the community.

Fox 29's Dave Kinchen got an up close look at the extra edge they're giving officers on the street.

Surveillance cameras are watching us: recording just about everywhere we go and much of what we do; becoming central to solving crimes in the process.

Now, more of them are popping up on the bodies of America's finest.

"They record real time, what's going on," said Wildwood Crest Department Sergeant Ed Gorski.

They are part of the gear officers are wearing at the Wildwood Crest Police Department an added tool, they say, to protect and serve.

"We're a shore community. Sometimes (we get) landlord-tenant problems. Cameras on, we get to capture everything (that's) happening," said Sgt. Gorski.

Detective Sgt. Ed Gorski took Fox 29 inside the headquarters for an exclusive look at the program that has 15 cameras paid for with a grant that helps them better respond to domestic calls, but that's not all.

"It's a good tool not only specifically for domestics (but) for motor vehicle stops and disturbances," he explained. "There's always the he said, she said, and this helps see what the facts actually were at the time of the call and the investigation."

That's especially true when a response requires a little more than words.

"I was involved with another officer where we had to get physical and use a little bit of force. No problem, it was captured on video, it was reviewed and clear," Sgt. Gorski said.

The department would not release videos of the physical altercations, however, video from Taser International, who designed the camera, shows just how intense the encounters can be.

"From the moment the camera is turned on every encounter between an officer and individual on a stop is recorded. It’s uploaded to a site and police tell me the video becomes a digital copy a police report," Sgt. Gorski explained.

Lawyers can get to it too, but some people think the cameras give them too much power.

"Constitutional rights as Americans. We are living in freedom here, we were," said Gary Reese, who's opposed to the cameras.

Reese is less than thrilled about more eyes watching when he is out and about.

When asked if he felt it was an invasion of privacy, he said," Yes, we can't go by the word of law men. what do you need them for?"

"It's not like we're (walking) around a day recording everything we see and do," Officer Jonathan Greene said.

Officer Greene says there is no reason to fear the camera.

"I would just tell those people that we're here to help. We’re not here to jam anybody up," he said.

The Cape May County Sheriff's Department also uses the cameras.

Atlantic City and Egg Harbor Township police are next to acquire about similar cameras.

More jurisdictions are turning to them for security reasons.

"It will protect the policeman as well as the perp so i think it's a good idea," said resident Frank Vogel.

Vogel has lived in the crest for 40 years and says body cameras are one of the best ideas he's seen so far.

"In an emergency situation the adrenaline gets going. Things happen and documentation is the only thing that will bail you out," he said. "A lot of times it goes from a trial to a plea!"

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says he supports the cameras, but they are not currently in use here.

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