Butler PD unveils new technology to keep criminals, officers more accountable

CREATED Nov. 13, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov. 13, 2012

  • Print
  • Keller Russell reports Video by wtmj.com

    video

BUTLER- New technology is helping keep you safe while keeping criminals and police officers more accountable.

Many police departments have their squad cars equipped with dash cameras, but Butler police are taking their ability to record evidence to a new level -- eye level. Tiny cameras are mounted on officers.

It almost looks like bluetooth technology for a phone, but this tiny piece of equipment is much more sophisticated.  It captures each encounter Officer Chad Rahn has from start to finish.

"We push the button twice and everything that we do and or see is being recorded," explains Officer Rahn.

The body cameras are a new tool the Butler Police Department is using.  Worn on their uniforms, sunglasses, or with headgear -- they go everywhere the officer goes.

"Dashcam captures what's in front of the vehicle.  A lot of our contact may start there but then it ends up somewhere else," says Butler Police Lt. Brian Pergande.  "If we're in a house, attic, basement, in a woods, it's going to be recording. And it has great night time vision."

Officers responded to threats of a gang shootout recently with hundreds of people in the area.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Keller Russell
: "How does this also hold officers accountable and responsible for their actions?"
Officer Brian Pergande: "Knowing that a camera is on, everyone acts different when they know they're on camera."

But the new tool isn't cheap at $1,500 each.  Butler resident Mary Trumbull donated the money.

"It's permanent evidence and I liked it.  I liked the idea of it.  And I liked the way they were going to use it," says Trumbull.

The police department says the cameras will save taxpayer dollars by cutting down their time in court.

The video evidence eliminates the "he said, she said" argument.