Louisiana State Police equipping troopers with body cameras

LSP getting body cameras

Louisiana State Police plans to equip its state troopers with body cameras in an effort to improve transparency and safety.  The LSP will purchase more than 1,500 of TASER’s “Axon Body 2” body cameras to be used by approximately 700 uniformed state troopers on patrol.  “Each Trooper that’s assigned to patrol will get one,” LSP Master Trooper Brooks David with Lafayette-based Troop I said.  Troop I has about 40 state troopers who cover eight parishes, including Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary.  Trooper interactions with the public usually take place during traffic stops in front of the trooper’s vehicle. More Troopers find themselves in situations that happen away from their vehicles and out of the line of sight of the current in-car camera systems, David said.  “I think it’s self-explanatory.  It will catch a whole lot more than just that picture in front of the vehicle,” he said.  According to LSP Public Affairs Section’s Lt. J.B. Slaton, there is an increased need for the LSP to be able to document these interactions for evidence collection and the protection and safety of the troopers and the public.  State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson researched the use recording devices in January 2016.  His staff also researched other law enforcement agencies’ deployment of different types of recording systems as well as the capabilities and the compatibilities of the various recording systems.  Twenty-two troopers across the state used the “Axon Body 2” cameras from February through September.  “Nothing is more important than the safety of the public we serve and the troopers committed to that service.  We must ensure that we maintain transparency and accountability through proper training, sound procedures and the latest technology,” Edmonson said.  “For nearly 20 years our troopers have used in-car cameras to document interactions with members of the public, but I am pleased to announce that we will now be taking that capability a step further.”  “Fully deploying HD body cameras, let alone taking the innovative step of purchasing two per officer, is undoubtedly a bold move in the direction of improved accountability and officer protection,” said TASER CEO and co-founder Rick Smith.  “Combine that with our Axon Signal technology, which virtually ensures that important interactions don’t go unrecorded, and you’re looking at an agency whose technology can help them go above and beyond.  We commend them on being the first major, statewide agency to take these steps.”  “They’re going to outfit New Orleans first because of the troopers that work on Bourbon Street and then after that they’ll start outfitting the troops,” David said.  “I don’t know which order they’re going to go in.”

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