MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A state labor panel put the brakes on a police body camera program in Nassau County after the unions complained they weren’t involved in the decision making.
During a 90-day moratorium on the cameras being implemented, the Superior Officers Association and Police Benevolent Association will meet with the Police Department to discuss the issue, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
PBA President James Carver said he’s not opposed to the program, but just wants to be involved.
“In September the PBA filed an improper practice charge with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) challenging the County’s planned unilateral implementation of a body-worn camera pilot program,” PBA President James Carver said in a statement. “This charge became necessary after the County refused to negotiate with the PBA over the body camera surveillance program it seeks to introduce, which bears a direct and significant relationship to the working conditions of police officers and which may intrude on, among other things, the privacy interests of employees.
“The PBA wants to ensure the safety of the men and women who protect the residents of Nassau county and ensure protection of the public in situations which dictate privacy and other related matters,” Carver added. “The PBA has never been opposed to the use of body cameras or the implementation of a body camera policy. In fact, we have publicly acknowledged the advantages that the use of some cameras may have in protecting police officers. But we were and continue to be concerned about the rushed and unilateral implementation of body cameras.”
“They feel that they do not want to have a process or a system where any officers are punished unjustifiably,” Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, D-Freeport, told Hall. ” I understand and agree with their sentiments. This is never going to be, and I don’t want it to be, a ‘gotcha’ program.”
But Abrahams said overall he supports the body camera program.
“I think it adds transparency to the entire process, so I continue and always will support body cameras for the benefits of what it provides to the officers as well as to the community,” he said.