SUFFOLK COUNTY

Exploring costs of body-worn cameras for SCPD

County researches police tool

Posted

Suffolk County legislators are making progress on the effort to equip county
police officers with body cameras.

County legislators approved a resolution Sept. 17 that will allow the Suffolk County Police Department to obtain quotes for implementing body-worn cameras for SCPD officers, officials announced.

The measure requires SCPD and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office to draft
and issue a request for expressions of interest, or RFEI, for information about
equipment and costs. The resolution is sponsored by Legis. Jason Richberg
(D-West Babylon).

The RFEI will include a cost estimate, the image resolution quality provided
by the proposed cameras, costs for storing video footage, a third-party monitoring component, and costs projected for data storage capabilities, a county press release stated.

Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) said the RFEI would outline the potential
cost of using the technology in the field to prepare for if New York State officials choose to mandate cameras. Legislation is currently pending in the state Legislature to require the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers.

“When we talk about body cameras, we hear a lot about the cost – of buying
equipment, storing data,” Calarco said. “The use of body cameras will be looked
at very seriously.”

Video footage produced by body cameras use a lot of data, Calarco said, and
typically, a third-party vendor would be responsible for storing data for the county.

Some highway patrol officers are currently using body cameras as part of a
countywide pilot program established in 2017.

Noel DiGerolamo, Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association president, said body cameras would be beneficial because footage could help “vindicate officers who are routinely falsely accused of misconduct.” It would also
hold accountable those who make false accusations, he said.

But if the cameras will end up in the county, he said, is still up in the air.

“It comes down to the county deciding whether or not they believe that
the cost to facilitate one of the largest departments in the nation with bodyworn cameras is a justifiable expense,” DiGerolamo said.

“The PBA is always willing to work in a collaborative fashion with the county
to ensure that we have the most up-todate tools available to continue providing the highest level of service to our residents,” he added.

The SCPD is expected to come before the county Legislature with the results
of the RFEI and recommendations within 120 days.

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