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NYPD officers to begin testing body cameras this fall

AFP Photo / Aaron P. Bernstein

AFP Photo / Aaron P. Bernstein

The New York Police Department announced it will start outfitting dozens of officers with body cameras this fall – an effort that could potentially see the entire agency embrace the technology.

READ MORE: Cop cam: Ferguson police to wear body cameras

The initiative will start out small – only 60 of the NYPD’s 35,000 officers will wear cameras during the pilot program – and will include a trial of two different types of devices. One camera can be pinned to the front of a shirt, while the other can be worn on an officer’s ear, glasses, collar, or shoulder.

It will cost $60,000 to launch the program, which is being provided by the nonprofit Police Foundation group. The costs for storing the recorded footage will quickly raise the bill, though it has not been decided just how that expense will be covered. It is also unclear how long the trial run will last.

The NYPD is so far the largest police department in the United States to employ cameras as part of its operation. The officers involved will be spread across precincts in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

The devices will be able to record both audio and video, which NYPD Commissioner William Bratton suggests will benefit both civilians and police, as well as offer valuable evidence.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James displays a body-mounted camera during a news conference in New York, August 21, 2014 (Reuters / Brendan McDermid)

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James displays a body-mounted camera during a news conference in New York, August 21, 2014 (Reuters / Brendan McDermid)

“The idea is the person understands that they are being recorded and there is an ability to test the veracity [of a person’s account] through the use of the camera devices,” Bratton said, as quoted by theNew York Daily News.

“Sometimes, being quite frank with you, complainants lie – bald-faced lies. And I think, clearly, the officer, knowing that it’s being recorded – in most instances it will affect the behavior of the officers in a good way. I think he or she will feel it’s an additional protection for them,” he said.

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