Cullman Police Department Approved for Body Cameras and Tahoes


CULLMAN – The Cullman City Police Department will be receiving about 35 body cameras and six Tahoes after a requests for approval from the Cullman City Council was authorized Monday evening.


Police Chief Kenny Culpepper requested to purchase body cameras with video management, storage and a docking station from Taser, Inc. in the budgeted amount of $32,989.65. The purchase will be paid for by local tax dollars and is an investment that could save the city millions of dollars.


Assistant Chief of CPD, Craig Green said, “Body cameras are the latest trend and technology available for police departments.” He added, “Last year we approached the mayor and the council and they gave us the okay to order three cameras; we tried them and liked them.” Green said that the cameras capture the officer’s interaction with the public and tell the original story of each instance.


The three current cameras were assigned to patrol officers since this department has the most interaction with the public. The new Axon Flex cameras will fit underneath the officer’s shirt collar and stay on with magnets.


The cameras will be ordered this week. There is a 45 to 90 day turnaround time to receive the cameras from Taser, Inc. In addition, the docking station will have to be installed, including an internet line. The department will have training sessions for each shift of officers regarding capturing and downloading footage. Officers will then begin wearing the cameras when the camera policy is approved. Director of Information Technology for the City of Cullman, Daniel Hunt, will guide the officers through the class and will issue each of them his or her own camera.


If an officer has interaction with the public, they must have their camera turned on. At the end of each shift, the officers will have to place their cameras on the docking station which will then charge the camera and download its footage. The footage cannot be altered by anyone at the police department. Since storage space is limited, footage received from simple traffic stops will only be kept for 30 days while footage from arrests and more serious encounters will be kept longer.


“When people are under stress, there are things they can’t remember,” Green said, “They can watch the video and see everything that happens in the officer’s line of sight.” Green said the cameras have the ability to prove wrong false claims and testimonies. “It’s a safety thing. It’s safe for us. It’s safe for the public,” Green said.


The footage from these cameras will not necessarily be released or be available for the public to view unless it is in the public’s best interest. Police Chief Kenny Culpepper will always have the discretion to release the video. “We have to protect the victim,” Green said. The camera footage will be considered as evidence that cannot be open to the public for obvious reasons.


The department will also be working on getting a camera mounted on their police dog. If the dog handler has a smart phone, the camera can be linked with the phone so the officer can see what the dog is seeing. CPD is trying to come up with a bracket that is durable enough to ensure that the camera is secure.


In addition to the body cameras, CPD is requesting approval on the purchase of six 2015 Chevrolet Tahoes from Donohoo Chevrolet on the State of Alabama bid list for $171,538.00. CPD has always used Crown Victorias as their standard vehicle, but had to transition when Ford discontinued their production.


The Tahoe offers durability and acceptable fuel mileage compared to other vehicles, according to Wesley Moore at the Cullman City Garage. Since the request has been approved, the purchase order will be processed this week and the Tahoes will arrive based on the 90 day state bid list process. The vehicles will then have equipment installed which could take up to 30 days. CPD will then have about 15 Tahoes. Look for the results of these approval requests soon.