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Body cams coming to Southport Police Department

SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — The Southport Police Department will soon be outfitted with body cameras. In the wake of police-involved shootings, including one in Indianapolis involving 15-year old Andre Green less than a week ago, the department says it’s trying to be proactive, and prevent any kind of doubt.

In the case of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Andre Green, people have been divided. On one hand you have those for police, arguing officials were only trying to protect themselves and others. On the other hand you have those who support those who lost their lives, arguing that police over reacted with excessive force. The Southport Police Department hopes to close the divide and let video do the talking.

The Southport police force is small, only the police chief is paid and 28 volunteers make up the rest of the reserve department.

“This summer was our lowest crime summer, when the kids are out of school and things like that. It’s a small town inside of a city, so it’s a nice safe area to live,” said Police Chief Tom Vaughn.

In fact, Vaughn says their biggest problem is car break-ins and that number has gone down significantly. It went from 18 last summer, to just one this summer. Chief Vaughn is working to keep crime down. That’s why he’ll gladly accept the cameras.

The Southport Lions Club is paying for them.

“How many times can you take this many guys and make them volunteer to go out and risk their life, and take care of us citizens? We feel pretty good that we can contribute a little bit,” said First Vice President Bob Roe of the Southport Lions Club.

The Lions Club spent $3,000 for 10 cameras, which is enough to outfit all on-duty officers.

The cameras capture clear pictures and audio, both in well-lit areas and in dark areas. Police say it’s just one more thing that will help them do their job.

“It’s a tool that we can use to help us during an investigation. I don’t think it’s the answer to all of our problems. It has its place in police work and I think we need to start doing it now,” said Chief Vaughn.

The department is already using one camera. The other nine will come in September. Southport has 12 more reserve officers going through the academy and will join the force soon. They’re also working on creating a support service division, to have more officers patrolling the community.