KPD to get video cameras for patrol cars

Videotaped police stops, commonly seen on reality based television shows, will soon be coming to the Kingman Police Department.

The Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety awarded KPD a $27,500 grant to purchase six video cameras to be placed in KPD patrol cars.

Each camera costs more than $3,800 plus installation, KPD Lt.

Ray Sipe said.

The grant is available through the state's Governor's Office of Highway Safety's Driving Under the Influence Abatement Council for the purpose of buying the cameras.

"We'll assign the cameras to the officers who have the highest DUI activity," Sipe said.

"It'll be used for better prosecution and deterrent of drunken drivers."

The color video cameras will be equipped with a zoom lens.

Police officers will be hooked up with microphones for viewers to hear conversations between the officer and the suspect driver.

The cameras will be mounted to the dashboard of the patrol car facing forward but officers will be able to pivot the camera to point toward the back seat, Sipe said.

The camera will be turned on during traffic stops mainly involving suspected drunken drivers.

Mounted on the interior roof is a color monitor showing the officer what the camera sees.

The recording tapes would be secured in the patrol car's trunk, he said.

The videotapes of controversial traffic stops would be used in court for DUI cases and other criminal crimes.

The videotapes could also be used for future training of KPD patrol officers.

"We hope the cameras will lead to less DUI court cases," Sipe said.

County attorneys, defense attorneys, juries and possibly even the public and media could also view the videos.

The public or the media may be able to buy copies of videos of traffic stops once a criminal case is closed, Sipe said.

Sipe said he expects to receive the cameras in about a month and they should be in place in the patrol cars a week or two after that.

KPD hopes to have a total of 10 cameras in patrol cars.

One video camera has already been in service in a KPD patrol car for about a year.

In the near future, KPD is expected to buy three more cameras with another available state grant, Sipe said.