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Chief Calls Body Cams "The Future Of Policing"

CELINA (CBSDFW.COM) - A rough police takedown is caught on camera. But what you don't see in the video is what happened just seconds earlier.

CBS 11 News went to Celina to see how another set of eyes can clear the cloud of mistrust that can hang over police officers.

By all measures, Celina is a small North Texas town with a high-tech approach to policing.

Officials with the Celina Police Department understand and embrace the fact that in this day and age everything is recorded. Such was the case last week when a fight between an officer and suspect was all caught on the police dash cam.

At first nobody is really visible in the video, but behind a white SUV, on the right side of the screen, a Celina officer is confronting a man believed to be high on heroine. Then out of nowhere, the officer seems to tackle the man without reason.

But public perception quickly changes when we showed people a second angle.

The officer's body cam shows what you can't see from his dash cam. The police officer is punched and assaulted by the suspect.

"It confirmed he didn't provoke the fight," Celina Police Chief Mark Metdker said of his officer. "That video showed everything you needed to see right there."

The officer was immediately cleared of any wrongdoing.

Speaking about the body cams Chief Metdker said, "This is insurance, an insurance policy in my opinion for a police department."

Some would say it could also be insurance for the public.

The body camera, or point of view cams as they are known, could easily exonerate an officer as well as indict one.

"It's that kind of high-tech system of checks and balances that communities across the country are demanding of their police forces," Metdker said. "I personally think that the future of policing is the body camera."

Thanks to money from a grant every officer in Celina now wears a body cam.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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