By Dave Barkholz

At the Dickson Police Department, a new scout car isn’t ready for the road until it’s been equipped with a camera.
The same with each of the department’s uniformed police officers, who must wear body cameras while on duty.
It’s a proven technique for protecting officers and the public that they come in contact with, said Dickson Police Chief Jeff Lewis.
The department just took delivery of three new Ford Explorer police SUVs to replace aging patrol cars. But they’ll have to wait a few days to become road worthy until in-car cameras can be ordered for them.
The purchase of the cameras can now proceed for just under $8,000 thanks to approval Monday by the Dickson City Council. The vendor is Digital Ally. The city recently purchased the three Explorers and another police vehicle for non-patrol use for about $140,000.
The department began using patrol-car cameras way back in 2002 with the old dash cams that used VHS tapes.
The new cameras are very sophisticated and they’re mounted in the ceilings and front-end of the vehicles so they are not easily detected or removed, Lewis said.
Lewis said the department has been a long-time advocate of cameras.
Each of the department’s 40 uniformed officers, including school resource officers, are required to have their body cameras on when they engage the public either while on patrol or school grounds.
Lewis said the department would not be without them. Camera video is the first thing the department checks when a citizen has a complaint against an officer, he said.
“It’s a check and balance system,” Lewis said. “The officer out in the public eye, when they encounter someone in the public, they are required on a call to put their cameras on.”
“It just protects the officer and it protects the citizen.”

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