Recent shooting raises questions about technology in law enforcement

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MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Four days after a deadly deputy involved shooting in Three Way, there still are many questions. One of those questions is whether technology will help piece together what happened between the two deputies and two suspects. When officers suit up for patrol, they now are not only putting on a gun but in some cases also a camera, allowing them to capture video of every second of a traffic stop, chase or shooting. Mobile cameras have opened up many doors for law enforcement since they were first implemented, but experts say they were not always welcomed. “The initial feeling of the officers was not very favorable,” law enforcement expert Edmond Cepparulo said. “They thought it was like big brother looking over their shoulder.” But Cepparulo said as technology advanced, officers and investigators began to trust and use it more. “What you see is what happened. What you hear is what was said,” Cepparulo said. “That can be a valuable tool to investigators.” Experts said this is especially true with incidents such as last Friday’s deputy involved shooting in Three Way. Although officials have not released whether dash cam or surveillance video is part of their investigation, there is a visible camera outside the Maverick Quick Stop where deputies said they first encountered the fatally wounded suspect. “If you ask him to describe what was going on around that car, I would be willing to bet you that he can’t tell you,” defense attorney Mark Donahoe said. “But that dash cam can show you.” Donahoe said video is always valuable. “We always look at video cameras that are around other buildings in the area to see if they captured anything,” Donahoe said. New perspectives will soon be available as police forces move toward putting cameras right on their officers, recording their every move. Cepparulo said it is all about keeping the officers and the public safe. “Any piece of technology that can help officers do a better job, and do a better job of protecting the public, is a good thing,” Cepparulo said. The Madison County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have not released whether any video was recovered from the scene of Friday’s shooting or what role it may play in their investigation.

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