Public voices concerns ahead of body cameras coming to Albany PD

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The public was invited to voice their questions and concerns as the Albany Police Department held another meeting about the impending body cameras.

A five-page draft policy was issued to the public by the police department. It goes into specifics of how and when the body cameras should be used.

One of the biggest concerns at the meeting Tuesday was who will see the recordings, who has access to them, and where they will be stored.

“It is a tremendous – really an invasion of our privacy,” community member Anita Thayer said. “I think under the circumstances, it’s going to serve everybody well, but I think tonight’s exchanges were really valuable.”

Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox said the department is taking a careful approach in implementing the cameras. The first move involves testing out vendors to determine which is the best fit for the department.

About a dozen vendors could be tested over the summer. Once a vendor is selected, the process will then move forward in establishing a permanent set of rules for the cameras.

“A lot of the complaints deal with ‘the officer said this’ or ‘the officer said I didn’t say that,’” Cox said. “Let’s face it, we could all walk away from each other right now, and if we didn’t replay the video, we could all have a different account of what actually happened.”

The cameras are said to not be used if an officer is patrolling the area. It is used during a traffic stop or any crime involved situation.

“The police want to be sure that the public is protected and that they are accurately filming interactions with the public,” ACPAC Chairwoman Roslyn Jefferson said.

One of the city council members said the decision to have body cameras came after other departments began using them and due to past incidents that have been controversial.

“There are incidents that have happened where I think people, in retrospect, have said that if we had [the body cameras], we’d have a better sense as to what happened,” Councilman Richard Conti said.

The draft policy is open to the public. It can be read on the Albany Police Department’s blog. The blog can also be used to leave comments or thoughts on the cameras.

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