Public weighs-in on use of body cams during Albany PD forum

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Albany Police Department held an interactive forum regarding use of body cameras by police.

About 100 people attended a forum about body cameras for police that was hosted by the Albany Police Department. But rather than relay procedures, the police chief asked for input from the attendees.

Police Chief Brendan Cox said the public’s opinion was a welcomed asset. He said that by including the public in the planning process, Albany’s body camera system will be specifically tailored to the issues facing the city of Albany.

“We believe very much in the community policing philosophy,” Cox said. “We want to make sure we get as much information from our community as we possibly can, so we can do the right thing and we are all on the same page.”

Attendees gave ideas about file storage and accessibility to the recorded footage. The community is still reeling from the death of Dontay Ivy in April 2015 – one reason for considering use of the cameras.

“There was no logical reason to stop him,” human rights activist Willie White said. “That’s where it all went wrong. Body cameras would have protected that man. Body cameras would have made that stop never happen.”

Police said the cameras will provide more accountability and transparency among cops. Both police and residents agreed that establishing a strong brand of trust will make the streets safer.

“This is really going to help in courts, most of all, versus the he-said, she-said,” graduate student Megan Sterngast said. “Right now, it’s always the police’s word, and they usually win.”

“Technology can never replace human interaction,” Cox said. “They can only be a piece of the puzzle. They are not the full puzzle.”

Cox said the integration of the cameras will be a slow process because the department wants to take the time to get it right. He said they will start with 20 to 30 cameras at a time.

The earliest use of the cameras will come in the summer.

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