Wireless mics help beef up N.C. patrol cars

By Richard Gould
Hickory Daily Record

HICKORY, N.C. — Hickory has been awarded a $13,583 grant to purchase 35 wireless microphones for the police department's patrol car cameras.

Hickory police Capt. Tom Adkins said the money will be used to purchase replacement microphones to update the cars' current camera systems.

The microphones are worn on an officer's belt and activated automatically when the blue lights or the siren is turned on. They can also be switched on when an officer is away from the car and interacting with a subject. The recorded audio is used for a variety of purposes and is especially useful for the prosecution of drunk driving cases.

"They're an outstanding tool to document an officer's actions during encounters associated with traffic stops and when interacting with the public," Adkins said.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant was awarded to Hickory through project director and city manager Mick Berry.

"Grants from agencies like the Department of Justice help make Hickory Police Department one of the best departments around the nation," said Berry. "Wireless microphones are one more tool to protect our officers and our citizens."

The grant program allows state and local governments to support activities based on local needs and conditions and can be used for a broad range of needs including equipment, personnel, training and supplies.

A press release from the Department of Justice states that the cameras will serve to "enhance officer safety during traffic stops and increase successful prosecutions."

According to the Department of Justice, the purpose of the new microphones is to "enable officers to have their conversations with suspects recorded, marked and preserved as evidence. When suspects are being recorded with visual and audio technology it is anticipated that suspects are less likely to assault an officer or flee the scene of the incident."

Copyright 2008 Hickory Daily Record

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