VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — After footage from a camera mounted weapon helps send a man to prison, Vernon officials are talking about the value of the technology.
“I won a case,” Vernon Police Chief Randy Agan said.
This is just one reason why Agan said he believes camera mounted weapons were so important for his department.
“The officers jumped out on this and they didn’t have time to activate their body cams, and the car camera malfunctioned at the time and this one caught everything we needed,” Agan said.
Agan is referring to an incident with Shawn Benson, 32, that happened November 2018.
Gun cam video shows that while Agan and another officer approach Benson to arrest him for a felony warrant, Benson almost ran the officer over, and it is that footage from Agan’s gun that helped the prosecution’s case.
“I think that the footage had a big impact on the jury, they asked to see the video more than once and when they had it in the jury room they reviewed it several times,” 46th Judicial District Attorney Staley Heatly said.
Heatly said this is the first time he has used footage from a gun camera in a case and said it has some perks in comparison to using only body and dash cams where obstruction is an issue.
The device provided by Viridian Technology has instant-on activation that prompts the camera to record both audio and video as soon as the officer removes the weapon from its holster and has a high output light for low-light situations.
“It can bring out everything the officer sees without obstruction, it’s clear, it’s concise and it’s to the point,” Agan said.
Both Agan and Heatly said had it not been for the evidence taken from the gun camera, this would have been a more difficult case to prosecute.
Vernon Police Department was the first and remains the only department in the state to have this technology in its department but Agan encourages other departments to do their research and get on board.
Heatly said there is another case that involves video from the camera mounted weapons from the department that will be going to trial early next year, he said it will be “a shocker for all” when the footage comes to light.