Police Department Gets Grant For New Video System

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It's the kind of high-tech equipment one would expect to see in a James Bond flick, or even on an episode of COPS, but it's actually installed in two of the Payson Police Department cruisers.

New on-board video cameras were purchased recently with a grant from the Governor's Office on Highway Safety.

Officer Dean Faust, who wrote the grant, said he originally was requesting the $4,000 units for each of the department's 16 units. When the grant was approved, it was enough for two. "Still, it's better than nothing," the officer said.

The viewfinder of the new handy gadget is mounted above the rear-view mirror where officers can easily glance at the screen. When in "record" mode, the camera records the current time and date, as well as whether the officer was accelerating or braking the vehicle.

"Nationally, we had a lot of officers assaulted in 1996, and devices like this help protect officer safety," Faust said. "The camera is perfect for documenting crime stops, DUI cases, and for training purposes."

When an officer is in pursuit of a vehicle, the camera captures every nuance of the chase, including any radio communications. When a stop is made, a remote switch on the officer's belt can activate or deactivate the unit.

While the units are only in operation on two of the vehicles, Faust said he'll write another grant in a year or two for additional cameras.

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