MAURICE — Officers in Maurice say they feel safer after the recent purchase of five body cameras. Police Chief Guy Nerren says safety of the public and officers was one of his top priorities when he took office eight months ago.
He says his department is small and money is limited but getting body cameras for officers was something he was not willing to put off.
"I started actively started looking for cameras when I found we had money for the cameras, so I utilized that money to get the cameras. "
Officers say body cameras are an essential for everyday policing. The five cameras cost $3,400.00, an amount that is worth less than the safety of officers and the public.
"Sometimes the chief gets complaints on us, sometimes they're true, sometime they're not, this solves the mystery," Patrol Officer Tony Hardy said.
Officer Hardy is one of the department's five officers. He says when responding to a call, things can happen so fast; what happens in a matter of seconds can be crucial evidence in cases.
"If I turn it on and do what I'm supposed to do, I'll be okay, because the camera will solve everything for me," Hardy added.
Lieutenant James Hodges from Duson has been using a body camera for three years.
"We use the footage from these body cameras all the time, again it can be for courtroom cases or people filing complaints about us," Hodges said.
He says he can't imagine doing this job without his silent partner.
"These are like an insurance policy for us police officers, they tell the unbiased truth," Hodges said.
This is why Nerren says he wanted them for his officers.
"That way if somebody is giving a false complaint, the video shows exactly what happened," Nerren said.