NAMPA -- More police agencies are using a piece of technology that, they say, helps them in courts of law, in the court of public opinion, and keeps officers accountable.
It's a personal video recorder.
Back in 2012, a Nampa Police officer was executing a welfare check, and was attacked by two dogs. The officer shot one of the dogs in self-defense, but faced intense public criticism for the shooting. That is, until the department released video of the shooting, showing he was justified.
The shooting video was taken with a personal video recorder. Every Nampa Police officer wears one, and turns them on when dealing with the public. Back in 2012 they were relatively new to the city's police force. But after a couple years of use, Deputy Chief Brad Daniels says they're invaluable.
Those videos have helped us show the public that we're not out there being cowboys, Daniels said. We're out there doing a difficult job, and we're doing it as professionally as we possibly can. And those videos, when we play those back, when we have those opportunities, people see it and they so, 'Oh, okay, that makes sense.'
Because they help police in the court of public opinion, they like to release the videos whenever they can. Daniels says the videos are also invaluable evidence in courts of law.
When you can see all that unfolding in front of you, it makes a big difference.
Daniels also says more officers across the state are using them.
I know that more and more agencies, especially here in the Treasure Valley, are deploying them to their officers, because of the value they have in the court process, and holding people accountable.
The videos don't just hold criminals accountable, they also hold officers accountable.
Officers make mistakes, and we see that on rare occasion, said Daniels. But, we have seen that on occasion with our officers, and we've held them accountable for it. So, it's kind of a win-win for everybody, said Daniels.
Police say they can't release the videos during active investigations. They say that's why they couldn't release video from an incident this past week, when an officer shot a dog, they say, in self defense. That is part of a drug investigation.