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UNLV police officers now equipped with body cameras

Posted at 8:10 AM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 12:37:11-04

Changes are coming to the way college police interact with students.

Starting Aug. 21, UNLV Police Services officers will begin wearing body cameras. They are a little different than other law enforcement body cameras.

The cameras will start being used at Nevada State College, then come to UNLV soon after. Much like your cell phone camera they record audio and video, and there's a screen so you can see what it sees.

Whether perched on an officer's shoulder, chest or helmet, they stay on for the entire 12-hour shift, but it's up to the officer to hit record. That will take some getting used to.

"As I'm walking around with it more, I'm actually reminding myself that I have the camera on my shoulder," said Detective Sgt. Paul Velez with UNLV police.

All the police cameras have a front-facing LED screen so you can see yourself interacting with officers and that is on purpose.

"We're hoping that it will perhaps calm them down. People tend to be on their best behavior when they know that they're being recorded," said Ryan Doyle, the information technology manager for UNLV police.

You won't notice a tuition hike because they budgeted for the cameras, but you can almost spot the difference from a mile away. It can spot you too with a moveable camera head. 

This could help the entire department improve. They will use the footage during training as real world examples. Of course, it will also speed up and strengthen court cases.

"When you have something on camera, on film with audio, that's your evidence right there. It's fact," said Velez.

The department now has 35 cameras, enough for every on-duty officer to wear one. They check them in and out each day and download the video at the end of every shift.