CALDWELL, NJ - The Caldwell Police Department will add dashboard cameras to all police cruisers in 2015.
The implementation of the project will be completed sometime in January, according to Caldwell Police Chief James Bongiorno. He cited several reasons for the change, including increased safety for both officers and citizens, improved accountability for officers and more accurate record keeping. The cameras will also be a much more definitive resource when complaints are filed.
“Usually, when a citizen files a complaint, we have to go through the full investigative process,” Bongiorno said.
The process usually includes interviews and can be time consuming. The cameras should ostensibly expedite the process by providing a clear view of any incidents.
The cameras will also provide a resource for improving policing methods. Bongiorno said that officers will now be able to review the methods used during procedures such as traffic stops - and superior officers will be able to amend or critique an officer’s approach.
Officers are almost universally supportive of the measure, according to Bongiorno.
“It will make their lives easier because they know that when people make complaints, all evidence will be on the video,” he said. “And ultimately, it makes encounters between citizens and police safer for everyone, which is the most important thing.”
The cost for installation of the cameras will cost approximately $5,000 and will be paid for by a federal government grant.