NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police Commissioner Bill Bratton will soon roll out a pilot program in five precincts and one housing project in which patrol officers will wear body cameras.
One precinct in each borough was selected, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
The commands that will receive the body cameras include the 23rd Precinct in East Harlem; the 40th Precinct covering Mott Haven, Melrose, and Port Morris in the Bronx; the 75th Precinct in East New York, Brooklyn; the 103rd Precinct covering Jamaica and Hollis, Queens; and the 120th Precinct on the North Shore of Staten Island. Police Service Area 2, which patrols public housing developments in parts of Brooklyn, will also receive the cameras.
“This is going to be seen as an absolutely essential part of what an officer wants to wear while on patrol,” Bratton told reporters, including CBS 2’s Dick Brennan, on Thursday.
Ten officers in each precinct — and 60 overall — will be using the AXON Flex and Vievu’s LE3 model cameras, each described as about the size of a beeper. The devices will most likely be attached to the officers’ shirt and will record their experiences and interactions during their daily shifts.
Bratton said members of other departments around the country say they’ve found when cameras go on, often tension between police and the public actually goes down.
“LAPD officers found that when the public was aware they were recording the encounter it had the effect of de-escalating situations,” Bratton said.
Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri began wearing the devices after the days of unrest following the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
More law enforcement agencies have been putting the devices into use. One camera company has sold to more than 1,200 organization since 2009.
So far, only 60 officers out of the 35,000 on the NYPD will have a chance to use them, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City is rolling out the program slowly for a good reason.
“Just the data storage alone is a huge challenge on this kind of scale,” de Blasio said. “The confidentiality issues are a huge challenge, so we’ve got a lot to sort out, but we think this is a promising pilot, and we’re undertaking it wholeheartedly.”
Right now, it appears that the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is not yet on board.
In a statement, President Pat Lynch said, “A body camera pilot program is part of our challenge to Judge Scheindlin’s decision on stop, question and frisk. Police officers have nothing to hide, but there are many unanswered questions as to how this will work practically. We await the answers.”
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has been pushing to equip the city’s 35,000 officers with body cameras. She said it would protect citizens from misconduct and police officers from false allegations. James claims it would also save the city millions of dollars in legal costs.
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