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Law Enforcement Talk Body Cameras, Officer Shootings at Annual Conference

Whittney Evans

Law enforcement officials from across the state gathered in West Valley City this week to share experiences and best practices in how they handle criminal investigations. The third annual Utah Violent Crimes conference put a spotlight on the recent proliferation of body cameras in police work.

Salt Lake City Police Detective Matt Evans says with attention turned to high profile officer involved shooting deaths, it’s important to get agencies across the state together to share ideas. And he says body cameras have become a large part of that discussion.

“Everybody’s like hey, body cameras are gonna solve all our problems,” Evans says. “This is going to be the key to everybody’s complaints. And what we’re trying to do is add a little perspective to that and say that reaction time, point of view and perception, all these things come into play. And it’s not just watch the video and that’s all there is to the story.”

Evans says in addition to how to make the best use of body cameras, law enforcement officials are also shifting the way they deal with people.

“We’re trying to educate them like look, the way you deal with your friends, the way you deal with your family is the way you need to deal with these people,” Evans says. “And their behavior changes your response, not this is how you perceive them, you’re going to treat them this way.”

This year conference organizers invited Bill Everett with the Force Science Institute to speak about the intricacies of human behavior in high stress situations. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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