Charleston police chief seeks funding for body cameras

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston Police Department is hoping to get a Department of Justice grant to arm its officers with body cameras. It's part of an effort to keep certain situations fair and balanced.

Some are calling it a sign of the times while others say it's about holding those in the wrong accountable. But one thing they all agree on is the positive effects that will come from having Charleston police officers wear body cameras.

"They're to help document interaction between police officers and the public. It will also help to collect evidence and information so that when we have an encounter with the public it helps as a dual accountability process," said Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen.

Mullen says the $30,000 grant will make available 21 body cameras as part of a test run which already has proven results in other cities, including Summerville.

"What had been determined through the entire country is when departments utilize this technology their citizen complaints go down," Mullen said.

The cameras would be used in downtown Charleston. Each camera would be secured somewhere on the upper body of each officer and record audio and video when it's turned on.

Most people say they're on board with the latest piece of technology.

"Personally, I think it's great idea. A lot of people would say it's an invasion of privacy but I think when there is crime at hand or robbery, murder, I think personal privacy should be forfeited," said Marjorie Rawle.

The policies and procedures are currently being drafted on how the cameras will be used. Once that draft is complete, a public hearing will be held on July 15 during a city council meeting.