SUMMIT, NJ - Two new Summit Police Department (SPD) initiatives, the addition of body worn cameras (BWC) by patrol officers and the collection of demographic information during motor vehicle traffic stops, will begin in early 2018 as part of what the Department says is a continuing effort to better serve the community and to increase transparency into police interactions.
“I am proud of the excellent work of the Summit Police Department and appreciate its comprehensive and proactive approach to community policing,” explains Mayor Radest. “These steps taken by the department will benefit both the officers and the citizens we serve.”
Patrol Officers will be equipped with body worn cameras (BWC) that will be activated according to State Attorney General guidelines. Data gathered from the BWC will be used by the Summit Police Department to further improve the transparency, accountability and the quality of its interactions with the public. The devices were part of the SPD's 2017 Capital Budget requests.
The SPD will also begin the collection of demographic information during motor vehicle traffic stops. While not state mandated, the intent of this change is to increase the accuracy of categorizations based on race and ethnicity.
“Through the use of body cameras, we will be able to capture valuable evidence for investigations and trials, and better document scenes, interviews and encounters between police and citizens,” said Summit Police Chief Robert Weck. “Our goal through implementation of both of these initiatives is to increase accuracy and accountability in our department to transparently interact with the public.”
As part of its ongoing community policing initiatives and outreach efforts, the SPD frequently meets with members of the Summit Interfaith Council and other community groups to share information on its community policing programs. In addition, Summit Mayor Nora Radest hosts quarterly meetings of the 'Mayor’s Forum on Diversity' to help facilitate community connections and understand concerns of ethnic groups within the City, and has attended the Summit Interfaith Council meetings as well.
Reverend Blake A. Scalet, President of the Summit Interfaith Council issued the following statement:
“Our Council, made up of faith leaders from across all city house of worship, has developed a statement of common ground to affirm community safety and trust. We are grateful for our partnership with civic leaders and for the opportunity to work together to uphold the principles of justice, fairness and equality for all. Body worn cameras and collection of demographic information are positive steps toward this goal. We look forward to continuing partnerships with Mayor Radest, Summit Police Chief and Common Council working toward a better tomorrow.”
For more information on Summit Police Department policies or programs, visit cityofsummit.org/police or call 908-273-0051.