It will soon be easier for officers in Phenix City and Russell County, Ala., to do their jobs. Both city police and county deputies are getting an upgrade in the form of new Digital Ally video systems for their police vehicles.
Nearly $100,000 is coming to the Russell County Sheriff's Department and Phenix City Police for the purchase of 20 police in-car video systems.
"This was a joint grant from the Bureau of Justice Administration. It was a 60/40 split with 60 for the city and 40 for the county," explained Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith.
Right now the existing dashboard cameras are nothing more than a handheld camcorder.
Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter told News Leader Nine, "This is not something that's new to us. We have had some cameras in our police cars for several years. What happens is, technology changes so rapidly that the cameras we had become obsolete."
That's why the two law enforcement agencies teamed up to request money for upgraded equipment.
"We have eight from a prior grant we got last year and they were installed about three months ago. It's the same kind of cameras we'll get on the grant with Phenix City," said Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell.
Chief Smith added, "These new systems will be much more reliable, better quality video, they're also going to be mounted and enclosed in a rear view mirror package so it will free up space in the squad car."
With its smaller design and video playback capabilities in the mirror, Boswell said the new cameras will also help officers with their jobs, "It will enhance our ability to make traffic cases, it will also help officers if they're accused of excessive force."
After receiving word that the grant was awarded, the police department submitted their paperwork for the cameras, and they should be installed in patrol cars by the end of February.
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