Police Departments turn to in-car video cameras to boost accountability, transparency

Law enforcement agencies have sought to increase transparency with in-car digital recording systems that document interactions with the public

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When two Alachua County (Fla.) sheriff’s deputies shot and wounded an armed robbery suspect last May, the incident proved why dashboard-mounted cameras in patrol cars are so valuable.

Driving in separate vehicles, the two deputies confronted the suspect in a parking lot minutes after he allegedly robbed a Gainesville, Fla., post office at gunpoint. In the video, one deputy clearly told the suspect to stand in front of his patrol car and to keep his hands visible. The suspect initially approached the car but then backpedaled, reached into his pocket and pulled out a gun.

The deputies fired at the suspect, who survived the shooting and was later charged with three felonies. Three months later, the dash-cam footage was made public after state officials cleared the deputies of wrongdoing. The video served as key evidence in their decision.

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