Living Democracy

Elba Invests in Body Cameras for Police

Elba City HallDuring the most recent Elba City Council meeting, Mayor Mickey Murdock said the police department would be using funds to “purchase body cameras instead of rifles.”

Our country has recently seen a series of highly publicized officer-involved shootings. Among many other social issues, these events have brought about a desire and need for transparency in police practices.

These are the kind of events that always seem to happen “somewhere else.” They affect bigger populations, in bigger cities and represent problems small-town people think they don’t have. We often forget that these national issues affect everyone, from urban metropolises to quiet river front towns nestled in the Bible Belt.

It was interesting to me to see Elba being proactive about body cameras.  Their decision to purchase body cameras could have come from pressure for transparency within the community or from the officers themselves wanting protection in the event of conflicting accounts.

Perhaps Elba wants to keep up technologically with departments across the state and the country to appeal to businesses and citizens. Regardless of the reason, Elba took action.

Elba Police DepartmentIn the three weeks I have been here, I have come to learn that the people of Elba are caring and concerned about each other, and they are committed to their community.

Body cameras can protect both civilians and officers and provide accurate accounts of police interactions. By investing their money in these resources, Elba has helped ensure that their community will remain a place where people want to live.

In other action at the City Council meeting, a video made by community members for presentation to the Main Street Alabama organization was screened. Main Street gives grants to communities across the state to repair and upgrade historic storefronts and public spaces.

The video showcased the sights, sounds, history and people of Elba, like the river and levee, the historic Courthouse Square, and impactful work of Restoration 154. I was impressed by the quality and content of the video, and I thought it gave a good representation of Elba’s personality and its citizens.

By Caroline Allen
Last Updated: June 03, 2015