Body Cameras | WAMC

Body Cameras

WAMC

    The largest police department in western Massachusetts is taking steps to equip all its officers with body-worn cameras. 

Albany County DA David Soares; Schenectday County DA Bob Carney
Composite photo by Dave Lucas

District Attorneys across New York state are preparing for changes involving pre-trial evidence rules that include requiring prosecutors to share information with the defense much earlier in a criminal case.

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      The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is seeking bids from companies to supply the city’s troubled police department with a body-worn camera system.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan wants the state police to have body cameras.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Troy Police Department is set to begin testing body-worn cameras next month.

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Fallout continues in the city of Albany after police body camera video of a March police-civilian confrontation was released. With one officer arrested on felony assault charges, a rally is being planned for next weekend.

The Albany Police Department uses the Axon Body Camera System.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The day after an Albany Police officer was arrested and two others were suspended, body cam video of the police encounter with First Street residents on March 16th was released. It’s the latest problematic headline for the city’s new police chief.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

Between a contentious election for district attorney and a move to establish an external review board in Pittsfield, criminal justice reform and police oversight have been hot topics in Berkshire County. Less discussed: the use of body cameras for police officers.

In the first part of our series, we heard why some police chiefs – like Michael Wynn in Pittsfield – are skeptical of body cameras, as well as why the American Civil Liberties Union advocates for their use. Today, we’ll learn about how communities outside of the Berkshires have dealt with body cameras – and what Massachusetts legislators are doing to create a legal framework for the technology and its use.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

Between a contentious election for district attorney and a move to establish an external review board in Pittsfield, criminal justice reform and police oversight have been hot topics in Berkshire County. Less discussed: the use of body cameras for police officers.

In the first part of a two-part story, we’ll learn about why some police chiefs are skeptical about the use of body cameras—and why the ACLU disagrees.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has announced the creation of a new program that will provide funding to for law enforcement agencies to outfit officers with body cameras.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Kingston’s mayor hosted a forum on policing and community relations Monday night. The idea was to open lines of communication among residents, police officers and police commissioners. Several residents say they appreciated the forum, but there is lots of work to be done.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

After two years of preparation, the Albany Police Department body camera program goes live next week.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan addressed those gathered prior to the actual forum.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Center For Law and Justice recently issued a letter of support for community policing on the University at Albany campus, whose police chief J. Frank Wiley has come under fire for adhering to the policy. The city of Albany has gained national recognition for its community policing philosophy. As Albany police begin outfitting officers with body cameras, WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with the Center's executive director Alice Green about how the devices might alter the police-community dynamic.

Acting Police Chief Robert Sears
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Albany Police body camera program is almost ready for prime time.  Tuesday night officials updated citizens during a community forum at the main branch of the Albany Public Library.

Burlington Police car
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Burlington City Council recently approved a nearly $158,000 contract to purchase 110 body cameras for the Burlington City Police Department.  Deputy Chief of Police Jannine Wright says that although some officers have body cams, the new contract will outfit every officer and replace aging technology.

Police body cameras
wikipedia.org

A Vermont county sheriff's office is planning to start using body cameras soon.
 
Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark says the department plans to buy between 20 and 30 cameras for deputies. Each camera costs up to $1,000.

Clark said his staff has been asking for them for a while. The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the sheriff's office has 34 deputies, 16 of which work full-time.

The community of Dover in Windham County has been using body cameras. Rutland approved body cameras for police earlier this year.

Beginning on Monday, Albany police officers will be testing body cameras while on duty.

Police body cameras
wikipedia.org

Few Connecticut police departments are showing interest in a new state program that encourages them to begin using body cameras.

Chief Brendan Cox led the discussion at the Albany Public Library's Main Branch.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

About 75 people attended a forum on police body cameras hosted by the Albany Police Department.

The Chittenden County prosecutor says police involved in the non-fatal shooting of a distraught man had turned off their body cameras before the shooting.

Four police departments in New York have been awarded U.S. Department of Justice grants to purchase body cameras for officers. 

Throwawaysixtynine/Wikimedia

In an age of smartphones and social media, more police departments across the country are considering equipping their officers with body cameras. Last week the Saratoga County Public Safety Committee approved two measures related to community policing, one of which would equip Sheriff's deputies with body cameras.

For three years, Niagara County been equipping its deputies with body cameras. WAMC's Lucas Willard spoke with Sheriff Jim Voutour, president of the New York State Sheriff's Association, about his department's program.

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Months after a Saratoga County Sheriff’s Deputy resigned after a video of a confrontation with a motorist went viral, county government is taking steps to require officers to wear body cameras.

Connecticut To Require Body Cams For Police Officers

Apr 10, 2015
CT.gov

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the state will eventually require body cameras on police officers, but action is not likely this year.

4/9/15 Panel

Apr 9, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Professor, Rosemary Armao, and Kingston Freeman Publisher Emeritus, Ira Fusfeld.

Scheduled topics include Boston Marathon Bombing verdict; Body cameras come to North Charleston PD; Indictments coming in George Washington Bridge scandal?; Wisconsin Chief Justice files suit to hold onto job.

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A northern New York district attorney plans to buy body cameras for law enforcement agencies in his county before he leaves office at the end of the month. In the wake of recent high-profile grand jury decisions involving violent incidents with police, body cameras have been suggested as a possible solution.

President Obama’s call to equip police officers across the country with body cameras could change the way police interact with civilians, including those accused of breaking the law. Some experts say more study is needed before police agencies will know how beneficial body cameras can be and what the impacts really are.