Boston Police Body Cam Pilot Begins

After a tumultuous start, Boston officers will begin wearing body cameras for six months to figure out the logistics of implementing a permanent plan.

by O'Ryan Johnson and Chris Villani, Boston Herald / September 13, 2016

(TNS) -- Boston police finally donned body cameras yesterday in the controversial test program aimed at establishing best practices, and officials who pushed for the program said the roll out went smoothly.

“It’s going well so far,” said police Commissioner William B. Evans. “I was at District 4 this morning at roll call when the technology was given out and I think, all in all, once the police officers have them, they are going to like the technology. Change is always difficult. But it’s going well today.”

The six-month test program, which was announced in July, was initially supposed to use 100 volunteers; however, no one stepped forward.

When Evans tried to force the cameras on patrolmen, their union, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, asked a judge to halt the program with an injunction, saying it vio­lated a signed agreement that was in place to only use volunteers. Friday, a judge ruled in favor of the city, allowing the pilot program to move forward.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he was interested in analyzing the data provided by the cameras after they’ve been deployed for a “couple months.”

“The officers were great this morning and I think what we are looking forward to now is grabbing the data, taking the data, and starting to look at the data down the road, when we can make some kind of analysis,” Walsh said. “You are not going to make an analysis on a day, a week, a month, it’s going to take a couple of months before we see what the impacts could be.”

Prior to the wide distribution yesterday, Evans had assigned body cameras to eight members of his command staff, including Superintendent-in-Chief William G. Gross, who said yesterday, “I think the cameras are going to show folks just how difficult the job of a police officer really is while — at the same time — exposing and highlighting the widespread professionalism that exists in the Boston Police Department.”

Efforts to reach the union for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

©2016 the Boston Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.