Cameras give DeSoto police a new point of view

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on August 13, 2011 at 5:49 AM

Updated Saturday, Aug 13 at 10:55 AM

DeSOTO — DeSoto police are beginning to see things differently. Their department requires it.

Officer Roderick Tasby wears a VIEVU. It's a pager-like camera that clips on his uniform and records everything he does — as well as everything suspects do.

"Sometimes we go to court and they say it wasn't them," Tasby said. "Once we review the video, we can show them:  'Does this person look familiar?'"

DeSoto police bought the cameras, which cost $800 each, with seized funds this year. It's now mandatory for patrol officers to wear them.

Unlike a dashboard camera, it leaves little to the imagination.

"When you're looking at it from the car point of view, you might be squinting at the TV — what's taking place up there three car lengths away?" said DeSoto police Sgt. Todd Gipson. "But this puts you right there in front of the individual you're talking to."

But the cameras really make a difference when it comes to investigating complaints.

From a simple call at a sandwich shop where a woman later accused the officer of being unfair, to reviewing life-threatening situations after the fact, the VIEVUs are making a difference.

"The car doesn't go into houses when we go on a family violence call or a burglary call," Gipson said. "That VIEVU is with that officer and on those calls are the only source of video at that time."

The cameras have cut back on paperwork and the amount of time spent on investigations. They are keeping both the public and the officers honest about what really happened.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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