NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach Colin Stolle says recently there’s been a lot more video evidence to look at before prosecuting cases.
“That’s why I became a prosecutor, because I loved going to court and handling cases, and this is a change,” said Stolle.
Last year, the Virginia Beach Police Department began rolling out 450 body cameras. Implementing them comes in four phases, but so far he says a little more than 100 are out on the streets.
“That’s a huge impact on my office and it’s a similar impact prosecutors are experiencing around Virginia. The amount of time they have to spend preparing a case has gone through the roof and they don’t have the personnel to deal with it,” Stolle explained.
He says he worked with the city to be proactive in funding the jobs to handle the load, and by the end of the body cam roll out the city will have funded 13 staff members, a majority of which are attorneys.
Stolle says they’ve already hired four attorneys, two paralegals, and one support staff employee.
“You’ve got a week and a half to two weeks worth of video footage in order to prepare for just on docket, and that’s really where the problem comes in. We’re taking prosecutors out of court and away from handling cases, and having them actually sit down and watch video throughout the day,” he stated.
While the workload is only expected to get heavier, Stolle says there’s a positive twist.
“I think what it’s done is it’s made very clear, in no uncertain terms, what took place. I think in the end it will result in more guilty pleas,” he added.