MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — Muskegon Heights Police Department is the newest force in West Michigan to outfit their officers with body cameras, and they’re some of the most high tech ones on the market.
The police department says the new body cams are state-of-the-art technology for its officers. MHPD is the first department in Michigan to have this type of technology.
“We’re just really excited about implementing this in Muskegon Heights because it’s really something we feel is going to be a positive thing for the community. We want people to know that this kind of stuff is done for their benefit,” said Muskegon Heights City Manager Jake Eckholm.
The body cameras used by Muskegon Heights police are unique because they also serve as the officer’s radio. In one device, officers can record video, audio and also communicate with dispatchers and other officers.
Officers can also wear the cameras in two ways. One way is just a plain front, the other has a screen on it where the public can actually see what the officer is recording at that moment. Officers can also remove the body cams and use them to take pictures.
“It’s a kin to social media, expect we are carrying our own social media. Now if something should transpire, heaven help us if it does, we hope it doesn’t happen. But you’re going to get the whole story, not just what you see on Facebook because we are now going to have the video camera on us,” said Muskegon Heights Police Chief Joseph E.Thomas
The police chief said the body cameras will improve relations with the community and the department’s transparency — city leaders echoed those thoughts as well.
“This is part of the new normal. These allow officers to be safe, also allows for our residents to be safe as they interact with the officers,” said Muskegon Heights Mayor Kim Sims.
All of the 20 Muskegon Heights officers will be wearing the body cams.
The total bill to the city came in at around $91,000. Usually one of the largest costs for departments is data storage, but Motorola has offered unlimited data storage for the department at no cost.