Chesterfield Police say installing dash-cams too expensive

Posted at 7:35 PM, Jan 16, 2013

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTR)—Over the weekend a man died from an officer involved shooting in Chesterfield, and the traffic stop wasn’t caught on tape because the county’s police force have no dash-cams installed.

Police tell us a suspect was killed by an officer after the man was pulled over. During a struggle for the officer’s gun, police say the suspect was shot.

A few area police departments say the technology costs too much.

CBS 6 was told that the cameras are too expensive and that storing the data would be too difficult.

Henrico County’s police department also cites cost as the reason why its cars don’t have the dash cameras.

Law enforcement expert and consultant Steve Neal says there’s a huge benefit to having the in car cameras.

“The audio and video technology provides protection for the officer and it shows exactly what was said and done during each and every encounter,” Neal explained.

He says it’s a great tool to rely on especially when it’s time for the case to go to court.  CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stones says having the video cameras in police cars is the ultimate in transparency. He believes it provides a benefit to police and the public

“Video cameras don't have the same bias and credibility issues that witness testimony does so it's more reliable,” said Stone. “It can seal up a criminal case and it can also serve as a deterrent to people fighting back at police officers.”

“If they know they’re on video they may think again,” he added.

Other agencies that use the cameras include the Richmond police department, Virginia State Police and Petersburg police.  The Petersburg force has four in-car cameras right now. They recently earned a grant to purchase seven more.