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Scottsdale police testing on-body cameras for officers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- About 10 Scottsdale police officers will be testing on-body cameras for the next several months before the department decides if it will buy more of the devices.

The cameras are made by Taser and they're called Axon Flex. They can be worn on the officer's collar, glasses or hat and are about the size of a lipstick tube. The video is crystal clear and so is the audio.

Unlike dash cams, these systems are mobile and capture exactly what the officer is seeing. In fact, when the officer pushes the record button the camera captures the 30 seconds before they hit the button.

Scottsdale Police Sgt. Mark Clark called the devices the ultimate in transparency for police work.

"That's helpful because when an officer sees something and has time to react and turn the camera on, a lot of times the stimulus is already gone," he said."

Clark said the camera recently helped an officer after an encounter with a citizen who made a bogus claim.

"Internal Affairs looked at the video and it was completely contrary to what the complaining citizen said."

But the devices protect citizens as well. If they go to court, they would have access to the officer's video.

Clark said Phoenix and Mesa police are also testing out the cameras. Lake Havasu City has outfitted all of their officers with the devices.

"Lake Havasu went into it with both feet," he said. "And their feedback to us was helpful. It's technology that has certainly come of age for policing.

The cameras and software cost about $1,000 each.

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About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.


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