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Fairfield PD Encourages Other Agencies to Use Body Cameras

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FAIRFIELD-

The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police officers have led to widespread and sometimes violent protests across the country.

What some call police brutality is prompting many to ask police departments to start using body cameras.

Although the cameras come with a hefty price tag, the Fairfield Police Department says they offer added protection when officers enter potentially dangerous situations while on duty and when the department receives complaints about an officer's behavior.

FOX40 learned how the cameras work.

"Officers in the Fairfield Police Department will wear that on their center line of their uniform,” Lt. Stephen Crane said.

The cameras are about the size of a pager.

They begin recording immediately when an officer slides open the lens.

More than 100 Fairfield police officers have been wearing them and using them as protection and proof for about a year.

"I can’t give you the number but we have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of uses of the camera over the past year,” said Crane.

Crane says the devices help the department remain transparent, they can assist in prosecution, disprove complaints against officers and protect them on duty.

"Last year we had over 20 officers assaulted while they were on duty, so it can assist with officer safety,” Crane said.

In Fairfield, officers are required to always wear the cameras and use them as much as possible.

In light of recent outrage over the shooting death of Michel Brown in Ferguson, Mo., that begs the question: what if officer Darren Wilson was wearing a body camera?

Protests continue after Wilson was not indicted for shooting Brown.

Many are now calling for police departments nationwide to be equipped with body cameras to hold police and citizens accountable.

"It’s a benefit for us, it’s a benefit to the community,” Crane told FOX40.

Lt. Crane predicts more and more police departments will start using body cameras in the near future.

But the cameras come with a hefty price tag. Each costs about $900.

Several other local police departments are already using body cameras.

The Sacramento Police Department is considering a pilot program.

Earlier this month President Obama proposed federal funding to equip officers around the country with body cameras.