The Pine Bluff Police Department received a grant from Tyson Foods to help purchase additional body cameras.

The Pine Bluff Police Department received a grant from Tyson Foods to help purchase additional body cameras.
PBPD Chief of Police Kelvin Sergeant said on Tuesday that the police department has already acquired the body cameras and they are currently in use.
The Tyson Foods Grant allowed the police officers to purchase 20 additional body cameras.
“In the past, patrol officers would have to share the cameras and the batteries would not last during the duration of the following shift,” said Sergeant. “With 20 more cameras, now we are able to properly rotate the body cameras.”
Sergeant said before the purchase, the lack of fully charged body cameras created a problem within his department.
“If we had 15 officers on a shift and they used those cameras the entire time, the batteries would be exhausted for the oncoming officers,” said Sergeant. “Now that we have a bank of body cameras, we can charge the extras each shift that are not in use.”
Body cameras have seen tremendous growth within police agencies as response to increased community criticism. A 2018 survey done by the Police Executive Research Forum found that more than one-third of U.S. law enforcement agencies had some or all officers wearing body-worn cameras.
According to PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler, police body cameras promote accountability, transparency, and legitimacy.
“Many policymakers, community members, and law enforcement officials believe that body-worn cameras (BWCs) advance these goals,” said Wexler in his executive summary. “Because BWCs provide an audio-visual record of police-public encounters that can be reviewed after an incident, the presence of BWCs may encourage officers and community members to maintain a higher standard of behavior during the incident. And BWCs can demonstrate that a police agency is willing to be transparent and accountable for its actions.”
Sergeant explains the body cameras clear his officers of the frivolous complaints and the actions they allegedly did. He also mentions the cameras pick up things that he can look at in the training division to see what an officer is doing and teach ways to do their job more effectively.
“I have a group that audits the body cameras,” said Sergeant. “They review the footage daily, a random audit a day with two or three officers, and watch to see how the officer is handling traffic stops and interacting with the public.”
In Wexler’s summary he said body cameras are believed to have a powerful “civilizing” effect on the behavior of individuals who know they are being recorded.
“When police have an encounter with a community member, it is assumed that the behavior of both the officer and the community member will improve when they know that their words and actions are being recorded and can later be subject to scrutiny,” said Wexler.
Last year, the Department of Justice announced a pilot program that allowed – for the first time – federally deputized task force officers to use body-worn cameras while serving arrest warrants, or other planned arrest operations, and during the execution of search warrants.
According to the Department of Justice, themselves through its law enforcement agencies, partners with state, local and tribal law enforcement on hundreds of federal task forces throughout the nation. Together, these task forces work to combat violent crime, stem the flow of illegal narcotics and arrest dangerous fugitives.
Several of the Department’s partner state and local agencies require their officers to wear body-worn cameras and have requested their officers wear these cameras on federal task forces when the use of force is possible.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration values its partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country, and we look forward to continued collaboration,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the United States Department of Justice release. “Task force officers working alongside DEA special agents play a critical role in safeguarding our communities from violent criminals, drug traffickers, and dangerous cartels, and their local knowledge and expertise are vital to making our streets safer.”
The almost unnoticeable to the human eye body camera will be worn by the Pine Bluff Department Patrol Unit on their uniforms. Sergeant states the body cameras will be just as important for the community as it is for his officers.
“Back in the old days when a police officer said this is what happened, that’s what people typically believed,” said Sergeant. “Nowadays everyone wants to see it and so these body cameras will allow the public to see the action that happened between my patrol officers and the public.”