Suffolk to begin rollout of police body cameras as soon as next month

The program will start in the 7th Precinct in Shirley, where 130 officers will be outfitted with the cameras.

News 12 Staff

Jun 2, 2022, 9:18 AM

Updated 680 days ago


Officers in Suffolk County will be wearing body cameras as soon as next month.
The program will start in the 7th Precinct in Shirley, where 130 officers will be outfitted with the cameras.
The program is six months in the making after Suffolk County and the Police Benevolent Association came to an agreement on the cameras.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone included $24 million over a five-year period in the budget for the cameras to purchase, implement the program and maintain the cameras.
"This body-worn camera program will protect our officers, ensure accountability and build upon the public trust," Bellone says.
Next week, the county Legislature is set to vote on appropriating the first $8 million to get the program rolling.
The plan is to have most of the 2,400-member force wearing the cameras, especially those on patrol.
The body camera program is part of the county's state-mandated police reform plan.
The department says it hopes to have at least 1,600 officers outfitted with the cameras by the end of the summer.
Suffolk officials say the cameras will automatically activate when an officer pulls his or her firearm from its holster.
News 12 is told the department is still trying to determine if the devices will turn on when police activate sirens in patrol cars.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison says it will be on him to make sure protocols and procedures are in place to hold officers accountable if they choose not to activate the body camera when they're supposed to.
Community activists say the cameras are a step toward achieving accountability and transparency but are overdue.
"This allows us to have visual data because with the data people can't run from what's happening," says Shanequa Levin, of LI United.
Others activists like Robert Ray, president of Agape-Waymaker, says the body cameras should be rolling 24/7.
Suffolk police say the protocols will be finalized and made public in time for the rollout.

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