PHOENIX — Body-worn cameras have begun to be used by police officers at the nation’s largest university.
Nearly every patrol officer and police sergeant at Arizona State University is now equipped with and trained to use a body camera. The university purchased 80 axon body-worn cameras from the Scottsdale-based manufacturer Taser International.
ASU Chief of Police Michael Thompson said the number of cameras accounts for the majority of sworn officers at the department.
“There are 90 sworn police officers here at ASU so there (are) only about 10 or 11 of us that aren’t wearing them,” he said. “And those are command staff level-type people that aren’t out there dealing with the public on a patrol level.”
While several other Arizona police agencies have been testing body-worn cameras and are slowly introducing them to some of their officers, the ASU Police Department took a different approach to rolling out the new technology.
“We decided that we were going to do it all at once and move forward,” Thompson said. “I think (body cameras) are certainly the future of policing and it is part of our overall plan to increase transparency and work with in our community.”
The majority of officers have already or nearly completed extensive training on how to use the cameras. Students can expect to see officers using the equipment immediately.
Thompson said studies have proven that officer behavior and the behavior of those they encounter changes in a positive way when cameras are rolling.
“It is also going to help us to be able to evaluate where we can improve,” he said. “We are always looking to improve and do a better job.”
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