Tempe buying body cameras for all officers

Posted at 3:53 AM, Sep 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-25 06:53:03-04

The Tempe City Council signed off on a deal with Taser International that will put body cameras on every police officer in the department. But, officers won't be required to turn on the camera in, what they call, "dynamic situations."

Tempe police say if their officers are in a dangerous situation, they want them to focus on safety first and worry about cameras second.

With that being said, the officer's body cameras have a built-in backup, which means the camera rolls 30 seconds before the officer starts recording. So, if an officer forgets to roll, they do have a small window to still capture video and audio.

The department tells ABC15, officers will be required to record during traffic stops and while responding to calls. They say putting cameras in the mix will not only bring transparency to the force and the public, but they believe it also adds a unique benefit.

"It brings a calming effect on both sides,” says Commander Noah Johnson, with Tempe police. "The person being recorded, potentially, will act calmer and be less likely to fight us. The officers will know its sitting there and, as humans, when we're being recorded, we probably act a little more politely."

Training will start around November. Once that's complete, the cameras will be used within the force immediately.