Police, city reach agreement over body cameras | News | #itsecurity | #infosec

SALEM — The city has moved another step closer to having police officers wear body cameras, officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

The city, the police department and the Salem Police Patrolmen’s Association have reached an agreement regarding the implementation of cameras.

With an agreement in place, officials now move ahead with the process of drafting a use policy, acquiring the cameras and storage hardware, and training the officers, with an eye toward implementing their use by early next year.

In a joint statement from the mayor, police chief, union and the city’s Race Equity Task Force, the cameras were described as a means of improving transparency, promoting officer integrity, protecting officers against unfounded complaints and providing evidence for investigations.

That use policy is expected to be posted on the department’s website for review prior to the cameras being put into use.

The city’s budget called for $90,000 for initial costs and another $65,000 per year in each of the following four fiscal years, for a total of $350,000. The city is now in the process of obtaining the cameras and computer hardware and programs that will allow for images to be stored and accessed. The city is also seeking state grant funds to offset the cost of those future phases.

Dominic Pangallo, chief of staff to Mayor Kim Driscoll, said the patrolmen’s union has agreed to six hours of training.

The cameras are among recommendations made by the Race Equity Task Force in a report issued earlier this year.

“We are committed to serving our public transparently and professionally,” the mayor said in a press release. “Body-worn cameras are a key tool to meet these important goals consistently and equitably. They protect officers from inaccurate accusations of misconduct, and they protect the public by ensuring accountability for police actions.”

“The implementation of body-worn cameras is very important to me as the chief of the Salem Police Department, as a career police officer, as an advocate for sensible, fair policing, and as a resident of Salem,” said Salem police Chief Lucas Miller. in the same joint statement. Miller acknowledged the cost but also touted the benefits, including assisting in police investigations.

The union issued a statement of support for the cameras, saying they will serve as “an added level of protection for all parties involved.”

“As always, we will continue to support initiatives that uplift our beloved community and protect our neighbors, friends, and families, the union’s statement said.

The Race Equity Task Force’s public safety subcommittee chairman, Thomas Macdonald, also offered praise for the cameras, one of the key recommendations of the task force’s report and something he said “are certain to be a useful tool in today’s policing environment.”

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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