NYPD announces pilot program for testing body cameras on officers

Posted: Updated:

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has announced that the NYPD will roll out a pilot program to have officers wear body cameras.

The department will distribute 60 devices to patrol officers in five precincts and one police service area, including the 40th Precinct in the Bronx. It'll involve the testing of two different types of cameras, both of which can be activated and shut off by the cop wearing it. One version is worn behind the ear and the other is clipped to the front of the uniform.

Many are raising concerns, including the mother of Bronx teen Ramarley Graham, who was shot and killed by an officer in his Wakefield home. Constance Malcolm says she worries that police will use the cameras to criminalize innocent civilians. She adds that there is still no guarantee that cops will be held accountable for their actions.

The police commissioner says the point of the program is to find answers to all of those questions and concerns.

Bratton has said that he's a huge proponent of the cameras and hopes they will be key to improving police interaction with the community. He also says the cameras can serve as extra protection for officers if someone makes a complaint against them because there will be video evidence of what happened.

The NYPD has not said how long the program will last or when exactly it will start. Other details are still being worked out, such as when officers will be required to turn on the cameras, how much the initiative would cost, and how to store the massive amount of video that would be recorded.

The pilot is being funded by a $60,000 donation from a police foundation. It will be voluntary for now, and is being modeled after a similar program being conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department. 

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