Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Two South Carolina state senators say they play to pre-file a bill that would require all law enforcement officers in the state to wear body cameras.
Senators Gerald Malloy of Darlington and Marlon Kimpson of Charleston intend to put in the paperwork Wednesday. The two says the recording devices would capture all of an officer’s contact with people while the officer is conducting his or her official duties.
Calls for mandating that officers wear the cameras have increased since the events in Ferguson, Missouri. President Obama has suggested there be federal funding for 50,000 body cameras to be issued nationwide.
“Disputed facts are often an issue in encounters with law enforcement as we’ve seen with the incident between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri,” Sen. Kimpson said in a statement. “Body cameras would provide everyone a clearer picture of the facts.”
Malloy says the devices are also necessary to collect evidence.
“History has demonstrated that eyewitnesses are not always the most reliable form of evidence,” he said. “It is time for South Carolina to invest in common sense technology. This investment is critical to preserving the integrity of our system of justice.”
The senators say Rep. Wendell Gilliard plans to file a similar bill in the South Carolina House.
Some law enforcement agencies are already beginning to test if the devices are helpful, in advance of any legislation. In August, the Columbia Police Department announced it bought twelve cameras to put on officers in the traffic unit and those that patrol the hospitality districts. Some Lexington County traffic safety officers use cameras as well.