Last spring we wrote a post regarding the use of body cameras by Virginia Beach law enforcement officers. In that post we indicated that it was unlikely that they would get them this year, or next, since the proposed budget for 2015-2016, had already been completed and did not include any money for the cameras. In this post we provide an update on the matter.
Virginia Beach Police Captain recently indicated that it is just a matter of time. Specifically he estimated that they would go into use in the early part of 2017.
One of the issues pertaining to the cameras is the cost. Over the course of five years, it is expected the cameras in Virginia Beach will cost more than $1 million. To help cover that cost the department is hoping to secure a federal grant worth $500,000.
The use of body cameras could be of assistance to both the prosecution as well as the defense when a criminal case, such as a drug crime, is being tried. As another police chief pointed out, the devices act as an unbiased witness to an alleged crime. This could help the state only bring charges when it has a solid case or, in the alternative, provide the accused with information that could lead to a dismissal or reduction of charges.
When Virginia Beach does get the cameras it will be one of the last in the area. The other six cities in Hampton Roads are all expected to have the cameras in use by the end of September.