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Farmville Police Say Body Worn Cameras Are Vital

FARMVILLE — Body worn cameras.

“That’s the hot topic you hear about today,” Doug Mooney told town council last month as he briefed them on his five years as chief of police.

Mooney, who retired effective January 5, believes such video evidence is a crucial law enforcement tool.

“I’m a strong advocate of body worn cameras,” he said. “I think we should record what we’re doing.”

And he felt that way before anyone had ever heard of Ferguson, Missouri.

He was an adherent of body worn cameras years before anyone saw the late Eric Garner’s name in headlines.

“We were one of the first police departments in the region to have worn body worn cameras, three or four years ago,” he told council members.

The Virginia Municipal League offered to donate body worn cameras and Mooney accepted with both arms stretched wide in grateful acceptance.

“And they’ve been good,” he said.

Up to a point.

The technology then was nowhere near as good as it is now.

And, for evidence that might be required to stand up in a court of law and/or the court of public opinion, the better one can see, the more one can believe what one is seeing.

“The quality didn’t stand up to police work,” Mooney said before offering advice to Town officials and whoever succeeds him as chief of police.

“The first thing I would recommend for the next…grant is to upgrade our cameras,” he advised. “They make a whole lot better cameras now than they did back in 2011.”