PERRY -- The Perry Police Department may be the first force in the state to require officers to wear body cameras.
After completing several months of training on the small cigar-shaped units, officials recently made them mandatory for the six-man force in Box Elder County.
Chief Dale Weese said it is likely that his is the first force in the state to make the cameras mandatory. "I'm pretty sure we're the first in Northern Utah," he said.
Weese said the units, roughly $500 each, are superior to the $5,000 dash cameras departments use "because you can get the video whether people are standing in front of your car or not. They will sure save a lot of possible conflicts."
The units attach to the belt of each Perry officer.
Other departments reportedly are experimenting with the cameras, which can also attach to sunglasses, include the Brigham City force, and Salt Lake City. Ogden police and the Weber Sheriff's Office have tested some of the units.
"We've done some demos with the different styles, but we feel the technology is advancing so rapidly it can become quickly outdated," said Ogden Lt. Steve Zaccardi. "So we're still looking into it."
"It's a fish-eye lens on their vest," said Perry Mayor Jerry Nelson. "It keeps the officer on his toes and it keeps the officer safe."
The units also record audio, Nelson noted. "I get to review what the officer sees and hears."
The body cameras protect the officers from unfounded excessive force complaints and can be used for training purposes, the mayor said. "It keeps everybody above board, both the people they pull over and the officer themselves."
Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238, email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister.