Body camera test for NYC officers begins

Posted on Dec 11, 2014

A test of a popular form of police technology is in its beginning stages at some of the precincts of the nation's largest police force. Officers across New York City will start using body cameras to document on-duty interactions with both suspects and the general public, creating an impartial record of these events.

Addressing potential concerns

According to city news source Gothamist, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and William J. Bratton, city police commissioner, have come out in favor of the devices as a way to capture more evidence and provide a better understanding of events after the fact.

"When something happens, to have a video record of it, from the police officers' perspective, is going to help in many, many ways," de Blasio said at a press conference unveiling the devices, according to Gothamist. "And God forbid, when something goes wrong, we are going to have a clearer sense of what happened."

During the press conference, de Blasio additionally discussed the need to address both privacy-based and technological issues related to recording. Officers will have to train in a variety of respects when it comes to using the devices, including proper uploading and storage of recorded footage.

Change management

One of the more practical benefits of the cameras is their ease of use. The New York Police Department is using a variety of devices, with all of them able to easily attach to various parts of an officer's uniform. The New York Times reported that de Blasio emphasized simplicity of operations in a recent speech at the city's police academy promoting the devices. Initial training efforts will focus on proper use by officers and those with the first levels of training under their belts will then use the devices on patrol.

Technology growing in importance for policing

Body cameras are just one example of the many types of developing technology being adopted by future-focused police departments across the country. Software to boost situational awareness and encourage the development of instantaneous information sharing, such as NC4 Street Smart, is also starting to come into focus as departments change the way important data is distributed. A move away from the hierarchical models used in the past to an approach where permanency and quick access are emphasized allows officers to have a better grasp of recent events and understand the unique risks that exist in a given area.

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