Criticism grows over rollout of Nassau County police body camera program

The County Legislature unanimously approved the use of body cameras Monday.

News 12 Staff

Jun 29, 2021, 7:36 PM

Updated 1,024 days ago


There is mounting criticism Tuesday over the lack of policy and procedures in place following the Nassau Legislature's full approval of the police body camera program.
Dennis Jones, who is retired from the NYPD and an advocate for police reform in Nassau, says he and many others were unaware that the Legislature planned to vote on the program Monday night.
"It was not widely sent out to the community," says Jones.
Legislator Carrie Solages disagrees, saying that there was full transparency and full disclosure that the hearing occurred and there was public comment.
While Jones supports the use of body cameras, he says paying each officer a yearly $3,000 stipend for a total cost of $8 million a year to taxpayers shouldn't be happening.
"We're already a county strapped for the high price we have to pay for policing," says Jones.
Attorney Fred Brewington also says policy and procedures such as when an officer can turn the camera on and off should have been in place before the vote.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says the policies and procedures will be worked out before the start of the pilot program.
"We'll have it done in plenty of time," says Curran.
Both Curran and Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder say they've been negotiating with the police union to get it done. Ryder says they've been reviewing the body camera policies of the NYPD and Suffolk police.
"We already have a draft, but we're changing it as we're learning about the instrument and what it can do," says Ryder.
The NYPD Patrol Guide clearly says cameras must be on for all use-of-force incidents and arrests. Suffolk's policy says the system is designed to turn on whenever the vehicle's emergency lights are activated.
The Nassau County police body camera pilot program will begin in September at the 5th Precinct in Elmont and the 8th Precinct in Bethpage. The full program is expected to begin by the end of the year.

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