BY JORDAN GIBBONS
Police Commissioner William Bratton announced last week that the NYPD will be starting a body camera pilot program in the near future, with the goal of eventually instituting the entire police force with the technology.
A total of 60 cameras will be used in the top five high-crime precincts, one in each borough. In Queens, the 103 Precinct in Jamaica will be the first to test out the devices that aim to prevent unconstitutional stop-and-frisk searches by officers and to also protect officers and the City from allegations of police misconduct and false arrests.
Assistant Chief of Patrol Borough South David Barrere said that the cameras, which will either be worn on eye glasses or on a tie clip, will be used by police officers who volunteer to be a part of the program. Bratton’s office is currently figuring out the details before the program is implemented, Barrere said.
“They’re working on a procedure that is going to apply to all precincts,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a good thing.”
Public Advocate Letitia James has been advocating for the NYPD to begin using this program for several weeks following the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police officers in Staten Island and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
“Cameras help departments to improve and correct protocol. Cameras also provide greater transparency, accountability and fairness,” a spokesperson for James said. “In fact, the use of cameras can help to save the City money by reducing the amount we pay out for allegations of police misconduct, which amounted to $152 million last year. Of equal importance, a wrongfully accused officer who behaved properly is more likely to be exonerated.”
Barrere said that it has not been decided whether the cameras will be on all the time or if officers can turn it on when they come across a potential situation.
Reach Reporter Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jgibbons2.