PUBLIC SAFETY: The future of policing is now in Elmwood Park, where every officer is wearing a body camera bought with forfeiture money from drug-related cash seizures.
The department has had state-required dashboard cams in all patrol cruisers the past several years, but these are “unable to capture an encounter any tie an officer goes out of view of the camera,” Police Chief Michael Foligno told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.
So the department purchased the 42 VIEVU cameras “at completely no cost to the taxpayers,” Foligno said.
“Now we will be able to capture just about every encounter whether near the vehicle or not,” the chief said.
The ongoing national discussion over police body cameras intensified last week when a bystander’s video led to the filing of murder charges against a South Carolina officer who shot an unarmed man in the back.
Investigators have said body cameras will provide evidence that can only help make police work easier in a society where citizens are quick to pull out cellphones and record portions of encounters — sometimes from obstructed vantage points.
Civil libertarians, meanwhile, say they will help keep officers in check.
Legislators in Trenton have considered requiring body cameras but haven’t passed any measures yet.
Foligno said his department wasn’t about to wait for one.
By trying to remain “ahead of the curve when it comes to transparency” in police operations, the chief said, he hopes to “earn and maintain the trust of the people that we serve.”
Every member of the department has been trained and a policy has been established, he said.