By this summer, the 53 members of the Falls Township Police Department will be able to document evidence, particularly as arrests are made, through the use of body-worn cameras.
The Falls supervisors recently approved the first-time purchase of the devices at a cost of $166,620 for five years. The department will receive a complete equipment refresh at the three-year mark, according to the contract with WatchGuard Video.
Police Chief Nelson Whitney said the equipment will take approximately 90 days to arrive. Installation will be done onsite and all police will be trained.
“This is technology that complements the in-car cameras,” said Whitney. “I see the main advantage of this technology being a tremendous improvement in our ability to collect and document evidence during incidents where arrests are made.”
“This is going to bring us up to the modern-day body cameras that most police departments have,” said supervisors chairman Jeff Dence.
Each officer will receive his or her own camera. As footage is uploaded to the server, the content will be linked to that officer.
According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, body-worn cameras are widely used by law enforcement agencies. In addition to improving interactions between police and the public, cameras also provide “an unalterable audio and visual record of interactions,” which can be used as evidence in case of a crime or to record incidents between police and community members. Footage from cameras can also help determine if police acted appropriately in use-of-force incidents.