New "body cams" allow sheriff's deputies to record their view of - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

New "body cams" allow sheriff's deputies to record their view of every traffic stop

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

When you see law enforcement lights flashing behind you on a highway, it's not usually a good sign. And, if you do get pulled over by Woodbury County deputies, you should know you are being recorded.

Speeding, not wearing a seat belt, and a broken brake light can get you pulled off the road by law enforcement, and the minute the deputy's lights go on, a camera starts recording.

"Right now we have in car cameras, which shows the inside view from the vehicle," Woodbury Co. Sheriff's Department Deputy Zane Chwirka said.

But, this camera doesn't give the full picture of the stop. That's why the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office introduced Taser on-body cameras.

"It's a point of view camera, so you get the actual point of view that the deputy has," Major Greg Stallman, with the Woodbury County Sheriff's Department, said.

Deputy Chwirka went through a trial period with the camera, and has now been using it for a few months. He can wear it on his collar, sunglasses, or hat.

"The battery pack is in my right front pocket here. All I have to do is a double tap to turn it on," Chwirka said.

And, that's exactly what Chwirka did when he stopped a car speeding down Highway 20 near Lawton, Iowa. The on-body camera recorded everything.

"The biggest advantage of having it, is if it does go to court, or for our administration purposes, so they can actually see what we're reporting to. It's what we see personally, Chwirka said.

After Chwirka issued the car a warning written warning, he uploaded the video to Evidence.com, which gives him the opportunity to review the situation. But, since the cameras have only been used for a few short months, Chwirka said he still has to get in the habit of turning it on at every single stop.

"There's been a couple of times when I actually come up to the car and I'm like, 'oooh, I forgot to turn the Taser camera on,'" Chwirka said.

Chwirka said he's faced some challenges with the new equipment.

"Due to the wiring connecting the battery packs and where we've been placing them at where we keep our plate carrier [sometimes it won't turn on because the wiring gets loose]," Chwirka said.

Chwirka said by the end of this week, they expect to have holsters for the cameras, which should eliminate all technical difficulties in the future.

"When we had the trial ones, we actually had the holster for them. We put them on our belts and had no errors then," Chwirka said.

Eliminating errors when it comes to the cameras will make the county safer for all.

There may be some violations you didn't know could get you pulled over and put on camera.

Officials with the Woodbury County Sheriff's Department said covering any word on your license plate, improperly wearing your seat belt, and having too much tint on your windows are just a few violations that could get you stopped.

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