New York Police Department officers will begin testing two types of officer body cameras in the next several months in an effort make interactions between police and citizens more transparent, says Commissioner William Bratton. The Wall Street Journal says NYPD will be the nation’s largest police force to use the technology. It has been championed by elected officials, community leaders and judges as a potential remedy to tense and sometimes fatal interactions between law-enforcement officials and the people they encounter. The camera is a significant enhancement to the ‘he said, she said’ controversy,” Bratton said. “But it is not the end all.”
The pilot program will adopt two cameras widely used by large and small police forces. The Vievu, about the size of a pager, can be worn on the front of an officer’s shirt. The Taser can be mounted on an officer’s ear, glasses, collar or shoulder. Abouty 60 officers in six precincts—one precinct in each of the city’s five boroughs and one public-housing district—will begin wearing the devices by year’s end, said Jessica Tisch, deputy commissioner for information technology. Up to 10 volunteer officers in each precinct will wear one model. The three eight-hour shifts in each precinct will have at least one officer wearing a camera. They will provide feedback in surveys and focus groups. Officials are working on policy guidelines, such as when the cameras should be turned on, how the massive digital files will be stored and for how long, and who has access to the files. Storage of the footage could cost millions of dollars.