Some Nebraska police departments have already been experimenting with them.
Beatrice Police Chief Bruce Lang acknowledges they do take some getting used to.
“We’ve had them now for about a year. We did a test on them about 14 months ago. We did a test of, I think it was seven or eight different vendors that submitted their cameras for us and we did a test of them. We deployed them about January of last year and we have been using them ever since,” Lang tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KWBE. “The hardest part now is for the officers to remember to turn them on, just because it’s not natural, yet.”
Deadly shootings in St. Louis and New York City have drawn protests across the country and have increased calls for police officers to wear body cameras.
Lang says the cameras cost the Beatrice Police Department about $700 apiece, which he says isn’t as costly as when a department faces a large settlement in an alleged officer misconduct case.
“They’re putting out millions. They might find it a cost-effective way to mitigate some of those expenses, because it does show a lot of what has gone on,” Lange says. “And, I can tell you from experience with just the in-car cameras, that when we went to those, the number of complaints against officers dropped dramatically.”
Lang says the jury is still out on how effective the body cameras will be regarding evidence that gets presented in court.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this report.