MEXICO — The Mexico Police Department received several grants in the past month, including one that provided the department with new body cameras, police Chief Roy Hodsdon said.
Hodsdon said the department received a grant through the Maine Emergency Management Agency that gave him access to nine new body cameras. Each officer will wear one.
“These cameras are going to allow us to record anything that happens while an officer is on duty and responding to a complaint or an incident,” Hodsdon said. “It’s really going to help us when interviewing people, and for looking into complaints.”
The cameras had to be purchased by the department before the Maine Emergency Management Agency would cover the cost, Hodsdon said.
Hodsdon said that in addition to the body cameras, the department received a grant for two WatchGuard cameras for their marked cruisers.
“We’ll be installing those cameras as soon as we find a good deal to install the cameras into the cruisers,” Hodsdon said. “We don’t have to pay anything for the cameras themselves, just the price of installation, which is about $200 or $300. They have to be wired correctly.”
The WatchGuard cameras can also film prisoners during transportation.
Hodsdon said that another grant that the department received will give officers access to a computer backup system that will store all of the video footage from the WatchGuard and body cameras.
During a Dec. 23 board meeting, Selectman Byron Ouellette asked Hodsdon what he and the other police officers planned to do with the video footage.
“We’ll be using the footage for any criminal case that we have to review, but it will also be available so that any time we respond to a complaint, we’ll be able to review any footage and interviews,” Hodsdon said. “Any time that one of our officers respond to a complaint, they’ll have to have the camera turned on.”
Board of Selectmen Chairman Richie Philbrick said that he thought the body cameras were a “great way to keep officers safe.”
Ouellette agreed, saying that the cameras were a “wonderful idea.”
The Mexico Police Department also received a grant that will provide new external vests for each officer, Hodsdon said.