DA's office also funding the purchase of heavy-duty vests to protect police officers responding to some of the most dangerous crime scenes
FREEPORT, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas joined members of the Freeport Police Department today to announce the full deployment of a body and in-car camera program to include every police officer on patrol, and every marked police vehicle on the road.
The program is being funded through the use of $108,000 in asset forfeiture funds obtained through the DA office's prosecutions of drug, gang, and other criminal cases.
“This groundbreaking crime-fighting program will have a positive impact for the hardworking police officers who patrol our streets every day, and for the people they are sworn to protect,” Acting DA Singas said.
“Whether it's providing better policing or helping crime victims, these cameras have been proven to be a valuable tool for our police officers,” said Freeport Police Department Chief Miguel Bermudez. “I want to thank Acting DA Singas for helping us fully utilize this valuable crime-fighting technology to protect our officers and better serve our communities.”
The full deployment of body camera technology will cover all Freeport police officers on patrol. The body cameras are cigar-shaped devices that are visibly worn under an officer's epaulet at shoulder level, and are activated by officers by pressing a button located at the officer's belt or shirt pocket.
Funds from the DA's office will also be used to install dashboard-mounted camera systems in all 16 of Freeport's marked police vehicles, as well as four unmarked vehicles. In-car camera systems are automatically activated whenever he overhead police lights are turned on.
Body and in-car camera systems operate on a 30-second loop – meaning that once an officer activates the camera system, 30 seconds of video has already been recorded, providing valuable footage in often fast-moving police encounters. Footage from the cameras will be securely stored for 120 days.
Some of the benefits of mobile and body cameras to law enforcement are:
• Recording victims' injuries and statements• Documenting defendants' actions at the time of arrest• Evidence gathering at crime scenes• Allowing juries to see and hear an event from an officer's perspective at the scene• Recording victims' injuries and statements
A report from the year-long implementation of these cameras in a similar-sized police department in Rialto, California in 2012 found a more than a 50 percent reduction in the total number of incidents of use of force by the officers using cameras compared to the control group that did not. Significantly, there were also nearly 10 times more citizen complaints in the 12 months prior to the experiment.
To help provide additional protection for officers, Acting DA Singas also announced today the funding of heavy-duty vests to be used by Freeport PD's Tactical Team to protect officers responding to some of the most dangerous crime scenes in Nassau County.
“By funding these programs, my office is sending a strong message that we are putting a priority on keeping officers, and the communities they serve, safe,” Acting DA Singas said.