By Joe Beck - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office has begun field testing body cameras after the major role they played in the investigation of the fatal shooting of William Henry Long.
Sheriff Timothy C. Carter and Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley praised the body cameras worn by two Woodstock officers also involved in the deadly confrontation.
Wiseley and Carter said video footage from the cameras played a key role in conclusively showing the circumstances that led up to Deputy Tom Frazier shooting Long twice.
"They really did prove invaluable for the investigation," Wiseley said.
The evidence she saw allowed her to reach a conclusion without the long waits that typically arise during investigations that rely on forensic reports from crime laboratories.
"I was able to watch the events play out right there with the body cameras," Wiseley said.
Carter said he thought it is "a benefit to the public and a benefit to the deputies to have this technology." He added he intended to outfit deputies with the cameras after the field testing is completed.
Carter said the cameras protect the interests of law enforcement officers and the public during tense or violent situations by providing a video record of how individuals are interacting with each other.
Police in other communities around the country have been using the body cameras, which are worn on an officer's uniform, in gathering evidence in a variety of situations, from traffic stops to responses to domestic violence calls.