Laurel police approved for 40 body cameras

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Laurel City Council has approved a $162,000 plan to provide police with body cameras.
For the past few months the Laurel Police Department has been testing out several brands of body cameras. They decided to go with Taser International's Axon body and will soon receive 40 of them.

Chief Tyrone Stewart says he's all for it and so is resident Vodie Rayborn.

"This will protect the citizens and it will protect the police," said Rayborn.

Rayborn has witnessed a 43-year-old man on medication pull out a knife on an officer and says body cameras would have helped in case something went wrong. That man with the knife that she is referring to is her son.

"I don't care if it's my child or your child, when you walk up on a police officer with a knife he's supposed to shoot you, that's what he's trained to do," said Rayborn.

"He was coming towards an officer holding a knife and made a statement using the words m-f y'all kill me, shoot me," said Chief Stewart. 

Fortunately the man put the weapon down and was arrested, but if the incident would have had a different outcome, Rayborn said without body cameras, people would have just assumed that the police officer killed her son for no reason.

"A lot of times people say 'why didn't they tase him you know, they didn't have to shoot him', this police officer tased him five times and it didn't even slow him down," said Rayborn. 

"That could have been a sad situation that occurs all across the country where we have to use deadly force," said Chief Stewart. 

Chief Stewart said he looks forward to the body cameras arrival. As for Rayborn's son, with the help of the department and the judge, he is now getting the medical attention he needs.

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