SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Officer Steve Negron looks like your typical bike patrol officer, but if you look closely, he’s one of 10 Scottsdale police officers wearing a small camera attached to their sunglasses.
With the click of a button, he can record his various interactions with the public straight into his phone. Scottsdale is the latest Valley city to test out new uniform cameras which aim to improve behavior on both sides of the badge.
“It’s a good check on what my demeanor is and should be on the street,” said Negron.
During 3TV’s ride along with police through Old Town Scottsdale, officers stopped a man driving on the wrong side of the street.
“What I want you to know, I’m actually audio and video recording,” Negron told the man. “It’s a pilot program for our patrol cameras.”
Negron says, in most cases, demeanor quickly changes for the better, which is especially helpful while patrolling the bar district after dark. Usually people become more cooperative and less belligerent, he says.
Potentially dangerous situations can be captured on the officer’s phone and used as evidence, video which protect both parties involved.
A recent case in Mesa went viral after an officer wearing a similar camera recorded an incident in which he was attacked by a suspect. Police say it showed the officer acted by the book in dealing with a difficult situation.
On the other hand, a Phoenix police officer was recently fired after his camera caught him swearing at suspects.
“It’s going to work out for both parties,” said Brian Dehn who lives in Scottsdale. “I’m for it.”
Despite privacy concerns by some, almost everyone 3TV talked to on Thursday night said they were in favor of cameras and the accountability they provide.
“We’re being filmed by anyone with a phone, or a tablet,” said Officer Negron. “We shouldn’t have anything to hide.”
Scottsdale police say each camera costs about $1,000. So far, they’ve spent about $10,000 on the cameras.