The New York Police Department is set to deploy the first body cameras to officers after resolving some of the thorniest issues on when to switch on the camera, how long to keep the tape and when to tell the public they’re being recorded, the Associated Press reports. About 1,200 officers who work the evening shifts will get the cameras at the end of the month. The pilot program was ordered by a judge after a 2013 ruling that officers were wrongly targeting black and Hispanic men with its stop-and-frisk program. At the time, few police departments used body cameras. Their use has exploded around the U.S. after a string of killings of unarmed blacks by police and the ambush killings of officers in New York City, Dallas and Baton Rouge. Officers and citizens have said cameras could help de-escalate situations that lead to violence.
New York’s deployment had been on hold amid a lengthy process to choose the camera company and storage and questions on how they would work. The department sought public comment through a questionnaire and worked with New York University’s Policing Project to analyze results. Some 25,000 people, plus 5,000 police officers, responded anonymously. “I think this shows that the public can have a voice in policing,” said Barry Friedman of the policing project. One change based on the results was to alert civilians they are being recorded. “New Yorkers … really want to be told they’re being recorded,” said police official Nancy Hoppock said. “And officers really don’t want to tell them.”