The police officer’s body camera picked up the sound of him breathing and the view shifted as he stepped from his car and approached a nearby suspect.
A close-up of a steering wheel changed to a large parking lot, the suspect and his car in the background.
The officer then approached and started questioning the man, in reality Floyd County Police Sgt. Ron Hunton.
The mock encounter was brief. The officer soon returned to his patrol car, and the recording ended.
“You see the officer walk up,” Floyd County Police Chief Bill Shiflett said at a Wednesday press conference. “You can see him walk and hear him breathe. You’ll see what the officer sees.
“We’re not ashamed of what we do,” Shiflett added later. “We’re proud of what we do. If you can put it into words and show it on camera, I see that as a benefit.”
Shiflett on Wednesday revealed his department’s purchase of 62 L-3 Mobile-Vision body cameras. Some officers began using them last Friday. Shiflett said every uniformed officer on duty will use one. The $25,000 used for the purchase came from Scott Logistics Co., a local transportation-based business.
“We’ve always wanted to support the community here,” said Roger Manis, general manager of Scott Logistics. “Rome’s been good to us. Floyd County’s been good to us.”
Manis met Shiflett about two years ago at Krystal. They’d discuss current events, and Manis would ask if he could help the police department.
Shiflett and his staff had contemplated buying body cameras before the police-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the officer-involved death of Eric Garner in New York City. The chief said those deaths hastened the local discussion.
At some point Manis mentioned he wanted to buy the cameras. Shiflett then spoke with County Manager Jamie McCord and agreed after getting permission.
“Even before that, we realized the jurors we have now — they know the technology is there so why are we not using it?” Shiflett asked. “Since the technology is there, we’ve got to move along with the world.”
Sheriff Tim Burkhalter’s office was the first law enforcement agency in Floyd County to get body cameras. On hand for three months, deputies have used them for some eight weeks.
Burkhalter and staff have examined the footage when someone complains about a deputy. Recordings also have been subpoenaed for court proceedings.
“There’s always hiccups,” he said of the cameras, adding later, “Overall, I think we’re doing pretty well.”