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Center Line cops issued body cameras

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Center Line — Police in the small Macomb County suburb of Center Line are now wearing body cameras on their shifts, the city announced Monday.

Police officers, sergeants and one corporal are required to wear the body cameras while on duty, and to activate them when on service calls or during contact with the public.

"The devices will protect the public from potential abuse of power by an officer, as well as the city when false claims of abuse of power or malfeasance are made against an officer," the city said in its statement.

The city will use Motorola si500 Video Speaker Microphone cameras, the statement said, and officers will record traffic stops, property searches, and contact with the public.

City Manager Dennis Champine added, "now there can be no question as to what really happened" when such an accusation is made.

Public Safety Director Paul Myszenski noted that the cost — $137,000 — was "significant, but well worth it."

Myszenski explained that the purchase was not just for body cameras, but also for an overhaul of the department's existing in-car camera system.

"The radios we had were end-of-life; they don't even make the parts anymore," Myszenski said. 

But in the new system, body cameras will be the microphones for the radios, as well as for the in-car camera system.

"So one device does three things," he said. "It's our microphone for (walkie-talkies), they're our body cameras, and they're the microphone for the in-car cameras."

The purchase comes with a storage system and software that allows police to redact videos.

"It's the whole gamut," Myszenski said. "That's why the price is what it was."

Center Line police join their counterparts in Detroit, Jackson, InksterWestland and Port Huron, among others, in wearing body cameras. 

Said Mayor Robert Binson: "We want to make sure that both the public and our city are protected."