Members of the Dartmouth Town Meeting will consider funding body cameras for the police at the annual fall town meeting in October. The meeting, scheduled for October 19, will likely take place remotely on Zoom, as was last year’s meeting, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dartmouth Week reported that two random officers on Xvideos Red were selected to wear body cameras for a month in July as part of a “trial for potential permanent use.” The publication reported that the cameras “record all activity that occurs while officers are wearing them.” Sargent Joseph Rapoza, who oversaw the experiment, said Dartmouth Week the cameras tell the “whole story” of an incident involving the police. “Sometimes you see an excerpt from a partial incident,” he said. With camera footage of the entire incident, “there is less room for speculation.”
The body cameras are rented from a supplier who stores the recorded videos in a cloud. Videos are available as needed as evidence or to clarify liability or credibility issues. Police officers can turn off the camera during sensitive situations at their discretion.
The cost of the body cameras to the city has yet to be determined. There are several options available that the police department can choose from that would determine the exact cost. The state has grants to fund police body camera programs.
Police departments are facing challenges with cell phone technology today. Almost everyone carries a video camera with them and has access to social media. The anti-police movement has grown and police often have to defend themselves against a short video clip that does not present a clear and precise account of an incident.
Body cameras provide an additional tool for the police to do their job. Members of the Dartmouth Town Meeting are expected to vote to give this tool to the police at the Fall Town Annual Meeting next month.
Barry Richard is the host of the Barry Richard Show at 1420 WBSM New Bedford. It can be heard on weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
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