Covering Louisiana

Dec 17, 2013 10:47 AM by AP

New cameras record all Thibodaux police doings

THIBODAUX, La. (AP) - Small cameras are now part of the uniform for Thibodaux police.

The cameras clip onto the front of a uniform to record on-duty interactions.

Police Chief Scott Silverii told The Daily Comet that the cameras will help keep both police and the public accountable.

"It puts everybody on the same playing field," he said.

They were bought with a $15,000 grant from the Thibodaux-based Lorio Foundation.

Officers are to activate the cameras whenever they interact with a civilian or are called out to a situation - not as a "trap" but to collect information and accurately document events.

"A lot of times in the inflection of the voice or the context of what was said or even facial expressions can be misinterpreted; that eliminates all of that," Silverii said.

Depending on circumstances, the camera can either defend or incriminate an officer or the people they deal with, he said.

"Sometimes, folks make less than altruistic statements about an officer ... and sometimes there are situations where an officer may have behavior that can be improved; they know they're being recorded as well," Silverii said.

Officer Jeremy Gaudet was one of the first officers to test the cameras. He says remembering to start the camera was tough at first, but is beginning to turn into a habit. The cameras will help capture situations from different angles, he said.

"And they may catch something I might have missed," said Gaudet.

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