On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the bill to enforce body cameras on law enforcement was signed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
Under this new law, police agencies throughout the state will now be required to come up with a policy for body cameras. While this bill was being considered, there was a lot of speculation regarding who would wear them, what the quality of the cameras would be, and how the footage would be stored.
Each police agency will have to decide how they will implement the new cameras and who will be required to wear them at all times. Since the bill was only passed yesterday, details of these new policies have not yet been released. However, we can likely expect to see updates in the following weeks as agencies begin to set up their new camera policies.
With the tragedies in Ferguson and even more recently, the shooting of Walter Scott, this shows that South Carolina wanted to make sure that we were doing something to protect and improve police work. With body cameras in place at all times, this will hopefully aid in providing answers to some situations that are not always clear. Police officers as well as citizens will be aware of the cameras and hopefully it will decrease, if not prevent, altercations between the two.
Although the law has been passed, police departments will not start the process of body cameras until they receive state funding to do so. The cost of body cameras for the whole state of SC has been estimated to be roughly $23 million over the first two years. Each department will have to set their camera guidelines to determine the amount of funding they will need and then apply for that accordingly.
Hopefully, once body cameras are in full use, we will see an improvement in our community among law enforcement and citizens alike.
With that in mind, The Steinberg Law Firm wants to do something to help our police officers who work hard every day to maintain the safety of our community. Law enforcement is a dangerous job and it’s never too early to put a Will in place to protect your families.
We are offering a free Will Clinic at our Summerville office on June 26th for all Summerville Law Enforcement officials. Call 843-871-6522 for more information. Hope to see you there!