North Charleston police start testing 37 body-worn cameras

(FILE)

Police officers have started testing 37 body-worn cameras on North Charleston streets, the initial phase of the city’s effort to outfit most of its officers after Walter Scott’s shooting death, an official said Wednesday.

The North Charleston Police Department has not finished developing its policy for using the devices, agency spokesman Spencer Pryor said.

A state grant paid for the city’s first 101 L-3 BodyVISION cameras, some of which the officers have started testing.

The city bought another 150 cameras after North Charleston police officer Michael Slager fatally shot Scott on April 4, but that shipment hasn’t arrived yet, Pryor said.

Interest in body cameras as an oversight tool in police-involved incidents has increased since Scott’s death, which a bystander captured in a cellphone video. Proponents said the footage showed the value of technology that can go where in-car cameras cannot.

Scott’s death inspired support for a S.C. General Assembly bill that aims to eventually bring body cameras to most South Carolina police officers.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed the measure Wednesday in North Charleston.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.