• 11 Investigates why many local police departments still don't have body cameras

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    ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. - One day after Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala used body camera video to clear a Penn Hills police officer of any wrongdoing in a shooting last month, 11 Investigates has learned many local departments still aren’t using the technology.

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    Penn Hills is one of the few police departments in Allegheny County using body cameras.

    They were bought and put into use in September 2018.

    Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton said he’s thankful the cameras were in use last month on Frankstown Avenue, showing exactly what happened to his officer who was shot at by suspect Onaja Dickinson.

    The officer returned fire, killing Dickinson.


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    11 Investigates learned the district attorney's office began surveying departments about body cameras earlier this month.

    A spokesman said it's still unclear how many departments are equipped, but the county's police chief's association estimates it's fewer than half.

    That's a problem Zappala believes needs to be rectified quickly.

    "The rationale being advanced to me is they're not affordable. They're affordable and I can help you buy them. I think they're a great tool," Zappala said.


     

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