ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A public forum was held Tuesday that showed test videos of police body cameras, answered questioned, and went over an updated policy on the use of the cameras.
The testing period of four different types of body cameras by the Albany Police Department is ending, and now the department has to choose one and start training officers.
Those in the community, like May Williams, had several questions about what happens next.
“If there’s an incident that happens, I don’t feel the police should police themselves,” she said.
Many questions were answered in the forum and were also answered in the new, updated policy.
Acting Police Chief Robert Sears said it’s been crucial to have community involvement in the process.
“It was really good to get the combination of all the input, and that’s how we created our policy,” he said.
Some highlights of the policy include who will wear the 250 cameras.
“First will be the patrol officers in the patrol cars; then the traffic officers in the patrol cars; then the special units, the canine units,” Sears explained.
Police also discussed when they will and won’t be used.
“Any time there’s an arrest,” Sears explained. “We’re going to try to use them whenever there’s a use of force. They’re not going to use them in special circumstances when there’s a sexual assault victim.”
An officer demonstrated some of the various cameras the department is considering. The cameras all include a 30-second pre-record function but vary from there.
Community activist Alice Green said she still has a lot of concerns.
“We don’t think they’re going to solve the problems that people have,” she said. “And I hope people don’t walk away thinking that body cameras are the answer.”
But Williams said it’s a step in the right direction.
“Every situation is not going to be solved with body cameras, but at least this is a start,” she said.
Any officers on patrol and detectives in the field will wear the cameras. The department is working on a viable rollout process, but they hope to see the body cameras on the streets by July.