Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, the commanding officer for the 105th Precinct, announced that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s body camera program for the NYPD has made its debut in Southeast Queens and that officers working the 4 p.m. to midnight shift will be equipped with the devices.
The precinct is one of 20 commands across the five boroughs that has adopted the program, which is eventually intended to be utilized citywide. It is being rolled out slowly due to the technical constraints involved in storing the massive amount of video and audio data collected by the cameras.
Schiff praised the program—which will eventually record an officer’s entire day and is intended to create greater accountability between the police and the residents they serve—and said that it would give residents a better appreciation for the work done by the precinct’s officers.
We agree with the inspector. Some critics of the program have argued that body cameras would prevent officers from doing their jobs. But we believe it will do just the opposite. The cameras will hold officers accountable and could provide of evidence of possible mistreatment of those who are being stopped or arrested by police.
At the same time, the cameras will be good for police officers because it will provide evidence to enable them to dispute false claims made regarding their behavior and, as Schiff pointed out, the devices will help the public to understand the difficulty of their jobs.
In other words, any officer who is carrying out his duties as the job requires will have no reason to be concerned about wearing a camera. We see this as a win-win situation for both the public and the officers who protect the city’s residents.