Suffolk PD 2 months into testing body cameras

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Suffolk police say two police officers began testing body cameras two months ago as part of a pilot program.

The body cam would be automatically turned on, along with three other cameras inside a police cruiser, once the lights on the vehicle are turned on.

"It increases transparency. And all that helps police officers, and it helps the public," says Commissioner Tim Sini. 

The commissioner says all 10 members of the Safe-T team – part of the Highway Patrol – will be wearing the body cameras in the coming weeks. Sini says he discussed the pilot program with the community and the police unions, but the director of Suffolk's chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union says Sini never discussed the program with their organization. 

"If one of the purposes is to build that trust between community and law enforcement, then ample notice should be given to the community to provide comments on the policy and be able to express their concern," says Irma Solis. 

Legislator Kate Browning, the chair of the Legislature's Public Safety Committee, also says she was shocked to learn from a reporter that the pilot has been in place for nearly two months. 

"I'm very disappointed to not have heard about it before it was in place," she said. "I think it would have been a courtesy to notify members of the Public Safety Committee." 

The assistant to the police commissioner, Justin Meyers, said in a statement that Irma Solis and her organization were consulted "months ago." The NYCLU maintains that is not true, and Meyers didn't respond to further questions looking for clarification.
The Freeport Police Department has been using body cameras for a few years. The Nassau Police Department says it's currently "in negotiations" with the police unions regarding body cameras.

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