Schenectady

Schenectady Police Department seeking to put body-worn cameras on more officers

In this 2018 file photo, Schenectady Police Officer Lt. Michael McLaughlin talks about the new body cameras the department will use.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

In this 2018 file photo, Schenectady Police Officer Lt. Michael McLaughlin talks about the new body cameras the department will use.

SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady Police Department is looking to get body cameras for its detectives, parking meter attendants and animal control officers using a Department of Justice grant. 

The $155,200 grant from the Office of Justice Programs will allow the department to expand its current body-worn camera policy adopted in 2018. The current policy requires cameras to be worn by “police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants assigned to the Field Services Bureau and anyone who may be assigned to patrol duties at any given time.”

“Each member of the Detective Division will be issued a camera to provide them with a means to record video when necessary; all parking meter attendants will be issued a camera so they can record interactions with the public; all animal control officers will be issued cameras which will record all calls for service,” a legislative request form submitted to the City Council reads.

The council’s Public Safety Committee is expected to take the funding matter up on Monday. The grant requires a 50% “in-kind” match from the city, which the request form indicates has already been covered.

Funding will also be used to purchase 20 reserve cameras in the case of malfunction or repair.

The department will be revising its current body-worn camera policy to reflect the new changes.

Under the current policy, officers wearing body cameras must record all calls for service, including “traffic stops, field interviews, mental hygiene arrests, prisoner transports and official police interactions.”

The cameras must also be utilized during crowd-control events like protests and when executing search and arrest warrants, according to the policy.

Cameras do not have to be utilized when officers are walking the beat, conducting traffic control measures and enforcing parking law when citizens are not present.

The grant is the latest the city’s police department has been awarded by the Department of Justice in recent weeks.

Last month, the City Council approved contracts for a pair of grants including a $25,168 Justice Assistance Grant that will be used to implement portions of the department’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative plan. A specific use for the funds has yet to be determined.

In addition, the department received a $125,000 grant from the Office of Community Oriented Police Services that will be used to bolster the department’s training unit over the next four years.

new chapter

Monday’s committee meeting will mark a new chapter for the City Council after new members were sworn-in on Saturday and Marion Porterfield was elected council president.

Committee roles have yet to be determined, though Porterfield, on Saturday, said assignments will sorted in time for Monday’s meeting, and hopes to mix more veteran council members with those newly elected.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.  

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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