Laurel Police: New cameras ensure accuracy on the job
LAUREL, Md. (WJLA) -- Traffic stops are nothing new for training officer, Stephen Sarver -- he's been employed with the Laurel Police Department for about seven years. But what is new is this lipstick-sized camera, magnetically clipped to his eyeglasses. Sarver was wearing one at 2 a.m. on May 24, when he and a rookie officer stopped a woman at Route 1 and Bowie Road.
Sarver says he smelled alcohol, so he asked the driver. Then, chaos commenced as the camera rolled, capturing the driver speeding the wrong way into oncoming traffic for several blocks before crashing into a curb and bailing out of the driver’s window.
"I pulled my Taser out and I yelled at her, 'Hey, please stop running -- if you don't stop running, I'm going to Tase you," explained Sarver.
This video has gone viral not because of the Tasing, but according to Police Chief James Brooks, because it shows the dynamics of police work and how flawlessly the police handled the situation.
It's a point-of-view camera, which means it records every head movement of the officer. It even records the thirty seconds before the officer presses record, and all of the footage can be reviewed on a smart phone.
Also important -- the officers do not have the ability to change or alter the video.
There are now 10 of these cameras in use, worn by every officer on every shift. And Chief Brooks says that as a result, complaints against officers are down in the first four months of use, as the camera makes sure his officers are patrolling the streets by the book.
"It's very beneficial because it captures everything that happens with no deviation," he said.