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Darlington cops to use body cameras
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DARLINGTON - The Darlington Police Department recently announced it is starting a body-worn camera program. The department is using the Vista series camera system, which provides high definition video and audio footage of officers' interactions with the public while on calls for service.

The cameras will not be utilized in casual citizen contacts, but will be used during complaints and investigations.

The body-worn camera complements the department's current in-car video systems, which have been in use for the past 18 years. However, the body-worn camera provides greater clarity to officer interactions with the public since it records what the officer sees as opposed to only recording from the squad car's vantage point.

Body-worn cameras have gained increasing popularity throughout the United States over the past 18 months. Law enforcement agencies are using body-worn cameras to improve evidence collection, strengthen officer performance and accountability, enhance agency transparency, document encounters between police and the public and investigate and resolve complaints and officer-involved incidents.

Police Chief Jason King said the camera will have its benefits, but it is an electronic piece of technology, susceptible to technical problems or human error just like any other piece of technology.

While officers will strive to acquire video evidence in accordance with their new policy, there always will remain the possibility the camera will fail or an officer will forget to turn it on in the heat of the moment. King said it is important for the public to be aware of these limitations up front so they do not have the unrealistic expectation there will be video of every single thing officers do.