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Massachusetts Police Look to Deploy Body Cams in 2020

After several years of discussion, debate and review, the Springfield, Mass., Police Department is anticipating that a body camera system for officers will be in full swing by the end of the year.

by Peter Goonan, MassLive.com / January 31, 2020

(TNS) — After years of discussion, debate and review, the Police Department is anticipating that a body camera system for officers will be in full swing by the end of the year.

The implementation plan and schedule were revealed Thursday as the department announced it has selected Getac Video Solutions of Bloomington, Minnesota, as preferred vendor for the body camera program after several months of review. The company was picked from 10 firms submitting competitive bids for the program in August.

“This will only continue to enhance and build mutual respect and trust with our entire Springfield community and police department,” Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said.

Police Commissioner Cheryl C. Clapprood will select 10 police officers as a working group to roll out the body camera program. Those officers will begin wearing the cameras about 60 days after a contract with Getac is finalized, and that phase would be followed by additional officers being trained.

The total cost of the first five years of the project is estimated at $2.5 million to $3 million. The city will use a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help pay for the project. The Police Department and Sarno anticipate seeking City Council approval in March for the balance of the funding.

Getac submitted the proposal in conjunction with GovDirect Inc., based in Clearwater, Florida.

The Police Department will be providing additional details about the program over next several weeks. Officials said the effort will include addressing privacy concerns.

The cameras will trigger automatically, via Bluetooth technology, when an officer activates a cruiser’s emergency lights. Officers can also turn on the cameras manually, police said.

“When the record feature is activated, the previous 30 seconds will be preserved with video only (no audio) and then the audio will begin at the initial activation of the recordings,” the department said.

The Springfield Police Department’s patrolmen’s union approved the body camera program last January, as part of a new labor contract, and the police supervisors association approved the program in March.

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©2020 The Republican, Springfield, Mass.

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