Sherman police look to purchase body cameras

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SHERMAN, Texas -- The Sherman Police Department is looking to soon equip all patrol officers with on-body cameras.

The use of body cameras is the latest trend in law enforcement, growing increasingly popular in departments across the nation.

Now Sherman police hope to follow suit by recently applying for a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice's 2014 Justice Assistance Grant Program.

The grant, nicknamed 'JAG,' would give Sherman PD $8,893.00 "to be used for the partial purchase of on-body cameras for patrol officers," according to city council minutes (see link).

The cameras are said to be extremely beneficial for police departments.

"It's going to increase our ability to gather evidence. It'll be a first hand view to the public or who ever is looking at this -- may it be a judge or jury -- to show what the officer saw at the time the incident happened," Sgt. D.M. Hampton, Sherman police spokesman, said.

Cameras, in general, aren't new to the department. Sherman police have used dashcams for roughly three decade, according to Hampton.

But there's a problem with those...

"Unfortunately whatever direction the car is pointed in is the direction you're going to get," he said.

That's where body-mounted cameras come in handy.

"It's almost like the public is with the officer when whatever he saw happens," Hampton explained.

On-body cams also serve as an officer accountability tool, he said. And they act as a reference for in cases where a citizen submits a complaint against and officer.

If the cameras are purchased, they'll likely follow a similar policy to the patrol vehicle's dashcams, which is to record every police interaction with the public.

While police wait for word on the grant, Sherman PD is shopping around for the cameras that will best fit their department.

Ideally, Hampton explained, they would like to find a company whose cameras work similarly to their dash-cams, which download all recorded data when the officer pulls into the station parking lot.

"Right now we're just in the early stages of looking at different vendors and seeing who we might go with and have them come in and do demos and get that kind of information gathered up," he said.