Body cam implementation schedule will remain, even after officer-involved deadly shooting

Capt. Todd Jones of the Virginia Beach Police Department discusses body cams. The dock contains the body-worn cameras that will eventually be worn by all Virginia Beach police officers (Joshua Weinstein/Southside Daily)
Capt. Todd Jones of the Virginia Beach Police Department discusses body cams. The dock contains the body-worn cameras that will eventually be worn by all Virginia Beach police officers (Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — After police  here shot and killed a Norfolk man at the Oceanfront on Sept. 18, authorities disclosed that officers involved in that shooting had not been issued body-worn cameras.

Despite 42 percent of the city’s gun violence in the first half of 2018 occurring at the Oceanfront — where the Sept. 18 shooting took place — police say they have made no decisions to change the body cam implementation plan.

Related story: Virginia Beach Police unveils plan for body-worn cameras

“We knew this would be a possibility with 20 to 25 percent of the cameras in use,” Public Affairs Officer Tonya Pierce said.

Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle said his office’s workload will increase with the implementation of the cameras, as his office is required to review all body cam footage that may be used in criminal cases.

“One of the reasons we implemented the cameras in phases was to ensure we could handle the additional workload that comes from this technology,” Pierce said.

The Sept. 18 officer-involved shooting stemmed from a domestic violence situation involving an armed man beating a woman with a piece of metal, police said.

Related story: Man killed in officer-involved shooting in Virginia Beach

After the incident, police released a statement that said “the officer who discharged his service weapon was not wearing a body-cam, as they have not yet been issued to second precinct officers.”

“We agreed with all stakeholders that we would implement the cameras slowly and assess the impact on all agencies,” Pierce said.

Police began implementing body cams on July 16 and completed the first phase in mid-September, Pierce said.

There will be three additional phases, with approximately 110 officers receiving cameras during each phase.

There is a six-month break between phases, Pierce said, with the next phase-in of cameras beginning in early 2019 and full implementation slated for early 2020.

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