All NYPD patrol officers now wear body cameras
Footage will be made public, despite PBA efforts
All New York City uniformed cops on patrol are now equipped with body cameras, NYPD announced on Wednesday.
The footage from those cameras will be available to the public, following a February ruling from a state appeals court. The Police Benevolent Association had sought to block its release, claiming that the images were the personal records of the officers and making them public could lead to an invasion of privacy and threats, but the court shot that reasoning down. “NYPD has begun reviewing relevant footage in order to respond to FOIL requests,” the department said.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the cameras would increase transparency and encourage “lawful and respectful interactions between the public and the police.”
“The NYPD has worked incredibly hard to build trust and strengthen relationships in the communities we serve, as we continue to improve accountability and transparency in everything we do,” O’Neill said in a statement.
The body camera program launched in April 2017. Since its rollout began, NYPD has recorded over 3.5 million videos.
Police officers are required to activate the body cameras — which are roughly the size of a flip-phone — when conducting actions such as making an arrest, issuing a summons, conducting searches or stopping a person on the street in the course of an investigation.
NYPD said that cops have received training in how to operate the cameras, and have also participated in role-play scenarios to get accustomed to the proper use of the cameras.
The force is transitioning to a different model body camera after one of the original models exploded. The officer was not wearing it at the time. In October, NYPD suspended the use of almost 3,000 LE-5 model cameras, and began transitioning to Axon cameras.
In addition to cops on patrol, roughly 4,000 body cams are being distributed to specialized units such as Emergency Services Unit, Strategic Response Group and Critical Response Command. These units should be equipped by August.
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