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Las Vegas police showing off new lapel cameras | News

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Las Vegas police showing off new lapel cameras
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LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police offered a look at lapel video cameras now being used by several hundred street officers.

Department officials hosted a media event Wednesday to talk about a pilot program underwritten by a grant from the National Institute of Justice.

Small, lapel- or vest-mounted cameras have been tested by U.S. Border Patrol agents in New Mexico, and police in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Rialto, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona.

"As you can see they are mounted up on the collar or the officers have an option where they can mount them up on glasses like this," Sgt. Peter Ferranti said.

The cameras are meant to hold officers accountable and help provide possible evidence.

“It opens up the transparency because it's making a recording of the interaction that each officer has with the citizen they come into contact with," Ferranti said.

UNLV researchers will watch the police officers over the next year to see if body cameras change how they police.

"The hope is that cameras hope to improve the interaction between police and citizens,” Director of UNLV's Crime and Justice Policy Bill Sousa said. “Do cameras reduce complaints of officer misconduct. Do cameras influence use of force by police?"

Researchers expect to have results back at the end of next year.

Outgoing Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie endorsed a Las Vegas police body camera program in 2012, amid calls for a civil rights probe into the frequency of officer-involved shootings in southern Nevada.

Each camera costs about $500 dollars and it is costing about $400,000 to get camera docking stations, where the video from the cameras can be uploaded, put in at all eight police substations. Outfitting the remainder of the department with cameras will cost $1.6 million.

The biggest cost for this body camera program will be storing video long-term.

An exact figure wasn't given to 8 News NOW by Metro Police but we found out the department has stored about 18,000 videos since March when a handful of officers first started wearing cameras.

The Justice Department says evidence shows that officers and the people they encounter behave better when cameras are present.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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