NEWTON, NJ—The Newton Police Department began using body-worn cameras this week, starting on Monday, March 7.
Newton Town Council approved Chief Michael Richards request for funding for the cameras in the 2015 capital budget. After a thorough study into various manufacturers, L3 Mobile-Vision’s “BodyVision” cameras were selected.
Each camera was approximately $1,200, a cost that includes the increasing of data storage capacity, as well as the new installation of related equipment. Since the new cameras are able to be integrated with the department’s current system, the cost of the new technology was less.
A grant of $4,245.83 from the Statewide Insurance Fund, the town’s insurer, offset the costs of the equipment, along with $11,000 that was received from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety Body-Worn Camera Assistance Program.
A total of 25 officers, which includes the three Class II Special Law Enforcement Officers, have each been assigned an individual body-worn camera. Each of the recordings logged will be identified as belonging to the specific officer assigned to that camera.
“The body-worn cameras will be worn by all uniformed officers responsible for performing patrol duties…video and audio recording will be activated when responding to an emergency or other call for service, as well as during officer initiated enforcement activities,” stated Chief Michael Richards, in a press-release given on March 7.
The body-worn cameras are designed to be mounted to each officer’s uniform in the area of their chest. The location of the device will significantly improve the officer’s ability to document evidence and statements during an emergency, a call for service, or a criminal investigation.
The use of body-worn cameras will prove particularly valuable for officers who are on foot patrol or bike patrol, since in the past, they were unable to benefit from the recording units only installed in patrol cars.
“Deploying body-worn cameras represents the police department’s commitment to utilize best practices and the latest technology most cost effectively in order to improve police services… where body-worn cameras have been used elsewhere, they have also shown to prevent, reduce and more quickly resolve citizen complaints. This will help maintain our outstanding relationship with those we serve, help strengthen our accountability and continue to build public trust,” said Chief Richards.
Chief Richards added, "Many Officers have been looking forward to their deployment are now pleased to finally have them in place."