Four Questions Regarding Body Worn Cameras For DPS Chief Bobby Maldonado
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently received an $88,000 grant from the Federal Bureau of Justice to purchase new body worn cameras (BWC). The award assisted the department in purchasing and outfitting all of the sworn peace officers with updated BWCs and data management solutions.
DPS implemented, and has now expanded, the BWC program as a proactive measure intended to demonstrate transparency and openness of officers and their interactions with the community, making both law enforcement and the community more accountable. The initiative was also a response to student community interests in establishing this transparency and as a recognized “best practice” address in the final report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado answered four questions on the BWC program.
01The BWC program is now a little more than a year old. How has it gone so far?
I believe it has gone well. We’re one of the few departments in the region fitted with the BWCs. It has enhanced transparency between DPS and the community. If a question is raised regarding an interaction between a DPS officer and a community member, we’re able to review the interaction and subsequently determine what occurred.
02Have the BWCs enhanced student/public safety?
We believe the cameras enhance safety among our entire community, including our officers. These cameras provide valuable evidence. The use of the cameras is also prompting discussion about recording policies, how to request access to the video recordings, along with when officers will have access to the recordings. Additionally, we’re able to incorporate positive interactions with an officer’s performance for training purposes, which also increases the quality of service we provide to our community.
03How have the cameras been received by the community?
I think the BWCs have been received well. We have not received any complaints or concerns from the community regarding the use of body worn cameras.
04How unique is this program?
We are one of the few law enforcement agencies in Central New York to equip our officers with body worn cameras. We have the latest version of the VieVu body worn cameras. We also consistently monitor and evaluate the performance of our BWCs (as this is still new technology) and for transparency and accountability purposes.