New York State Attorney General Letitia James came to Western New York on Friday and delivered cash for the purchase of body-worn cameras for the Falls, Buffalo and Amherst Police departments.
(TNS) — New York Attorney General Letitia James came to Western New York on Friday and delivered cash for the purchase of body-worn cameras for the Falls, Buffalo and Amherst Police departments.
At a later morning news conference in downtown Buffalo, James announced the funding awards as part of the Attorney General’s Capture an Account of a Material Situation (CAMS) program. The CAMS program is awarding 13 law enforcement agencies, from around the state, with more than $1 million to purchase 891 body-worn cameras and 321 body-worn camera systems.
The awards announced here include $51,759 for 93 body-worn cameras and eight body-worn camera docking stations for Falls police.
"I want to extend a sincere thank you to Attorney General Letitia James and her office,” Falls Police Superintendent Tom Licata said. “With this generous grant, we can continue our body camera program and enhance it by providing our officers with newer, better cameras."
Licata noted that the Falls Police Department was one of the first departments in New York state to utilize body cameras.
"We embraced the opportunity to use this technology to build trust by providing accountability to those we serve," Licata said. "In this day and age, (the use of body cams) is expected for transparency and accountability. It protects the officers and it protects the citizens."
As early adopters of body-worn camera technology, city cops have seen their current crop of cameras begin to come to the end of their service life, with many no longer in working condition.
“The Niagara Falls Police Department has always prided itself on being a leader in two areas: early adoption of new technologies that improve our ability to fight crime, and providing the community we serve with maximum assurance that our officers act in accordance with the rules,” Mayor Paul Dyster said.
Licata said the 93 new cameras mean every Falls officer working in the Patrol Division, the Traffic Division, the Roving Anti-Crime Unit and even Animal Control officers will be outfitted with body cams.
"Since the day I got this job, I've been trying to get (cameras) on the streets," Licata said.
James also awarded $150,000 to the Buffalo Police Department for 300 body-worn cameras and $37,240 to the Amherst Police Department for 49 body-worn cameras.
“The safety of our communities is our top priority and body-worn cameras are critical tools for promoting public safety,” James said. “Body-worn cameras provide increased transparency and accountability that help to keep all New Yorkers safe. Communities throughout Erie and Niagara Counties will be better served because of this program.”
The CAMS program, which was launched in July 2018, is funded with money recovered from organized crime takedowns carried out by the Attorney General’s Office. It provides body-worn cameras and body-worn camera systems to local law enforcement agencies.
In addition to the Falls, Buffalo and Amherst Police departments, funds have been or will be provided to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, the Syracuse Police Department, the Troy Police Department, the Utica Police Department, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.
©2019 the Niagara Gazette (Niagara Falls, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.