MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – The word “police” is in nearly every headline you read in recent news. Nationally—senators are working to create bills to reform police departments across the United States. One hot button topic being body cameras.
Marshall County Sheriff’s office chief deputy Bill Helms says body cameras have been around for ages. Although, now, more streamlined, they complete the same task—collecting evidence. Marshall County always has them on, because what better evidence is there than video proof?
We need to do something to put more trust in our law enforcement, and it’s not defund the police, it’s reshape and make the police better. Make the law enforcement better.Senator Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
So, how do we “reshape” the police? That’s the question being asked across the nation right now in light of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Many say a top priority is the requirement of body cams, including them always being on, and restricting covering them up.
The body camera, I think, on a police officer is an enormously helpful tool, but we see where some police officers, like in Louisville, had body cameras and had them turned off. So, it’s an instrument that can protect the person they’re pursuing, but it also can protect the police officer at the same time to get the right story out there.Senator Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
The Marshall County Sheriff’s office has been using them for many years. They say one time, they had reports of police wrongdoing, but after looking at body cameras, the story didn’t hold up. In other cases, it’s helped put offenders in jail.
The evidence sharing value is immeasurable. Now a days, when a deputy arrives on a crime scene, that body camera is running all the time. Everybody has one. Everybody uses it. It’s a great evidence gathering tool.BILL HELMS – CHIEF DEPUTY, MCOS
So, what it really be that big of a deal to implement these laws? Helms says no, because when it comes down to it, it’s a tool. Not a punishment.
I think what they’re trying to do with those laws is weed out the few bad ones. That’s never been the issue here. We have good professional officers here, and we enjoy overwhelming support from our community. What the body camera does is just enforce that. It keeps our profession noble. It lets people see what we do, and we’re glad to show them.BILL HELMS – CHIEF DEPUTY, MCOS
No new bills have been passed in West Virginia, or in the Unites states yet. In fact– the Justice reform bill was shot down today. So, stay with 7News as we continue to follow this story.
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