Portable cams give Sweet Home new edge on police patrol

Portable cams give Sweet Home new edge on police patrol »Play Video

SWEET HOME, Ore. - Gun? Check. Taser? Check. Badge? You betcha!

But gone are the days of a traditional dash cam--at least in Sweet Home.

You've heard of police using the dash cams, but how about shirt cams? Sweet Home police officers are using a new gadget: portable pager-sized cameras!

"It's a movie HG 7 camera," said Sgt. Jeff Lynn. "About the size of an old pager."

The portable camera clips onto the officers' shirts. So now every stop and every call these officers go on, so do the cameras.

"Clipped here to my front of my shirt. I'm recording you, just as your recording me," said Lynn. "It's just another form of documenting what took place. Some of the video goes into evidence so it helps with not only the apprehension of a suspect but also with the prosecution."

With the help of video, officers can now re-create a scene at just $130 per camera.

"It sees and hears pretty much most of what the officers see and hear," said Lynn.

Unnerving that these cameras could be misused? Officers don't think so.

"I think it prevents misuse!!" said Lynn. "Everybody understands, the officers and the public that were speaking with, that we’re being recorded."

In fact, officers say being able to see a visible camera on uniforms has appeared to help control several situations that could have quickly escalated out of control.

Lynn believes this department is the only one in Linn Co. that is mandating officers to use this clip on cameras.

Officer Brian Stevens thinks other departments will catch on too. "Like any technology, it'll become the expectation."

The department's ten cameras were funded from a Linn County Victims Impact Panel grant.

Neither Eugene nor Springfield use clip-on cameras. Eugene only uses patrol dash cam video.