Officers getting new eyes to watch criminals

The surveillance video officers use now record straight to VHS tapes / Ashley Knight

Leesburg police are getting new high-tech gear that will improve the way they go after the bad guys.

Cameras eight years old, outdated, and on VHS. Tuesday night, Leesburg's city council approved giving the police department nearly $20,000 for more modern patrol cameras-that record to DVD.

"Capacity is more, we can store more of them, and with the program that comes with this, we can go right to the date when something happens, it comes with GPS system already in it," says Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore.

"They've had little cameras that clip on their shirts, but that didn't record very well, this is going to be high quality, it's going to help them," says Leesburg's Mayor, Jim Quinn.

And officers say it will make their lives easier.

"What happened on your investigation, to review it, help you with the report, it's better, the sound quality is better, the picture is better," says Cpl. Perry Hartley.

Not only that, it makes for a much stronger case in court. One officer recently pulled over a woman for a citation, but the situation got ugly.

"Once she got out, got an attitude, ranting and raving, cussing at him. He could have charged her, but, when it would come to court, it would have been his word against hers," adds Chief Moore.

Often times in court, a surveillance video is the first thing a defense will ask for. And Moore says this new updated system won't only help protect officers, but citizens as well.

"Also it makes the officers think before they get here and do something, so it protects the citizen's rights too."

They'll start with four cameras--so there'll be one for every shift, and then work on getting the rest of the fleet outfitted when the funds become available.

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