Florence police department receives new body cameras for its officers

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Last year, Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill requiring law enforcement agencies get body cameras.

Back in July, the Florence Police Department announced they bought body cameras with the help of a $23,000 grant.

The department recently received 42 new cameras.

“This is just putting a face now with a voice,” said Police Chief Allen Heidler.

Chief Heidler says before his officers were dependent on voice recorders.  This will now put a face to the actual voice.

“This is perfect for documenting officer and citizen contacts.  We use these body cameras during training periods for the officers.  Most recently was two weeks ago.  We did a two week training with these officers,” he explained.

News13 reached out to several Pee Dee police departments to learn whether they have body cameras.

According to the Lake City Police Department, it has 25 body cameras that are not in use, but the department says will use in the near future.

Bennettsville police has 24 and has had them for about a year and half.  Both Darlington and Hartsville police didn’t give an exact number but say they’ve had their units for several years.

Marion police have none, but expect to get body cameras in the next couple of months.

“So I think getting the officers accustomed to the cameras was very easy because of the fact that they have been utilizing and were required by policy under the same circumstances,” stated Heidler.

Heidler says the department will get 15 more body cameras.

He says copies of the video do not fall under the Freedom of Information Act and it’s up to either the agency, the solicitor, the attorney general’s office or sled to release it.

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