LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg Police Department is cracking down on crime with the help of the latest technology.
Body cameras, also known as bodycams, were distributed to every patrol officer at the police station on Thursday to enhance their resources in fighting crime. The department invested in 30 cameras total.
Bodycams are a video surveillance device worn by police officers to record both video and audio footage. This will help with evidence, documentation and accountability.
“In this day and age you need as much technology as you can get,” said Chief of Police Darwin Williams.”It will help us deal with citizens, crime scenes, and really all around the board, this is a tool that we need.”
Williams came up with the idea for the bodycams along with the entire department. He has been working on getting them for a little over a year.
“We are so thankful,” Williams said. “We had private citizens who donated, who don’t want to be named, but they want to be a part of what we’re doing here.”
Another major donor was Rev. Michael Edds of the East Laurinburg Pentecostal Holiness Church. Edds and his church came up with an offering of $1,600 for the bodycams.
“I just think the world of them and I want to back them up,” Edds said. “We’ve got the finest police station in the state and when they take their time off to go out into a community and play with kids and feed people, that’s rare.”
Edds noted that the police department is heavily involved with the community, especially youth, in an effort to promote trust and friendship. Since this summer, the department has held community cookouts at two different housing developments.
Edds invited the entire police department out to his church one Sunday where he fed them, had Williams speak to the church and offered to enhance their technology through the donation.
“The bodycams will help citizens when it comes to fighting and solving a crime,” said Williams.
The recording device will be used during crime scenes and other encounters with citizens to provide further evidence when it comes to a case explained Williams.
“Having a camera helps us see where we made mistakes and it helps with citizens because it’s there, all the footage will be there,” he said.
He explained that being the growing department they are, any tool or resource that assists them with their highly laborious job is appreciated.
“We’re just thankful,” he said. “You normally see this kind of thing in bigger cities.”
The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office invested in 35 bodycams as of June 1. The decision was made by the department and overseen by Captain Wayne Gay in the patrol division.
“We decided to get some because of everything going on with law enforcement and the community,” Gay said. “We want to protect law enforcement officers and the individuals we come in contact with.”
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.