FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Nassau County District Attorney and law enforcement officials have announced a new program to equip officers in the Freeport Police Department with new technology.
Under the program, all uniformed officers in the department will have body cameras.
“Having corroboration of what a citizen says or what a police officer says is key and valuable for us,” said acting District Attorney Madeline Singas. “Seeing is believing and it’s good for jurors, it’s good for prosecutors, it’s good for citizens, it’s good for transparency. It’s an all around excellent tool that we can utilize in many ways.”
Officer Jason Zimmer said his body camera has already been helpful during routine traffic stops.
“Every car stop I do, this goes on,” Zimmer said. “A lot of times they are reluctant and they start giving me a hard time, I just advise them that they are being recorded…it kind of diffuses the situation.”
Freeport Village Mayor Robert Kennedy has said the body cameras will benefit both police and the community, but resident reaction is mixed.
“I think it will be good, I mean, you can see exactly what is going wrong, what is going right,” longtime resident Michael Graham told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs.
“The video doesn’t lie, unless it’s tampered with,” another resident said.
“I don’t know if it will really matter because, you know, the videos we see on TV we can see the police assaulting the guy and it didn’t matter,” a woman said.
Critics have raised privacy concerns about the growing use of police cameras.
Freeport will become the first municipality on Long Island to equip all its police officers with body cameras.
The program will also equip the department’s 16 patrol vehicles with dashboard-mounted cameras and fund the purchase of heavy-duty bullet-proof vests.
The district attorney’s office said money for these programs has been secured by using asset forfeiture funds from criminal cases.