Body Cameras Introduced to Spearfish Police Department

     The Spearfish Police Department are protecting the public with a new piece of equipment, it was deployed in June, but now they're giving the public an inside look.

“It's a no brainer to have that documentation. There's a reason everybody in the country is doing that right now” said Chief of police, Pat Rotert. The Spearfish Police Department says that's not why they're using them, “it's not, we actually started the decision making process back in 2011."
Rotert says plans to use the new technology has been in the works for years. The department began equipping every officer with new body cameras in June, making them one of the first in the Black Hills to use these new cameras. Now every officer on the department is required to wear one. “We made the decision to equip every officer” said Rotert.

All patrol cars are equipped with cameras, and currently police officers wear audio recording devices. “The biggest thing for us coming into it was we found that we had situations where it didn't happen in front of the patrol car and it would have been nice to have it documented in the same fashion. A traffic stop or DUI is very easy to document because its in front of the patrol car area. When we have a domestic violence situation, some type of theft with shoplifting where we go into a store and end up talking to someone, none of that was documented in the same way. We wanted to augment what we were already doing with the cars and take that same level by putting a camera on board with the officer.” Rotert says one more piece of documentation. However, the department is still working out the kinks.

The U.S Department of Justice awarded nearly $20 million in grants Monday to dozens of police departments. The department said grants will go to 73 police agencies in 42 states, helping purchase 21,000 cameras that officers wear on their uniforms to record interactions with citizens.