Pea Ridge police say body cameras to aid in security, efficiency

PEA RIDGE — As they prepare for their shifts, don their vests and attach gear, from now on police officers with the Pea Ridge Police Department will add one more piece of equipment. Each officer will wear a body camera that can record video and audio as well as take still photographs.

The small rectangular black box fits securely on the officer’s chest and will provide an additional dimension of security for both the officer and the public, according to the department.

“The Pea Ridge Police Department’s goals and objectives in deploying body-worn cameras are the accurate documentation of interactions between our officers and members of the public, arrests, and other critical incidents,” according to a press release issued by the department.

“It’s going help officers with transparency,” Police Chief Lynn Hahn said. “If anyone has questions … if we get complaints against an officer, we’ll be able to see what happened, not just hear.”

He said the evidence gained will be invaluable for court cases and will provide a more secure and efficient means of sharing evidence and case information with prosecutors.

In the past, officers have used their own personal phones for photographs. Now, Hahn said, they can take pictures with the camera and automatically upload the photographs to the cloud.

“I think it’s going to save us time in the long-run in document management,” Hahn said. The photographs and videos are uploaded to the cloud, and any evidence or documents pertaining to that case can be added.

Hahn said previously sharing case files with prosecutors could be very laborious. With the software, it is simplified. The department can share a link to prosecutors to receive the necessary information.

Officer Justin Lawson was the first Pea Ridge officer to return to the station with video. He placed the camera in the dock, and the images were quickly uploaded to the cloud and available on the computer.

As he reviewed the files, Matt Dugas, national director of business development for Intrensic, noted the information available on the file. Dugas was in Pea Ridge last week to train officers on the use of the camera and software.

Dugas said the range of the camera is 140 degrees and the camera is…