Grant to provide Westchester police with bodycams by spring

Posted: Updated:
YONKERS -

Body cameras will soon be coming to the Westchester County Police Department.

The state Attorney General's Office announced Thursday that Westchester will get more than $60,000 to arm county police not only with a gun, but also with the protective power of video.

County Public Safety Commissioner Tom Gleason says the grant will help Westchester get about 150 body cameras by spring. The cameras will be paid in part by the state with money seized from organized crime, but will mostly come out of the county budget.

The cameras are key, Gleason says, to protecting officers against allegations of excessive force -- and the public against possible bad behavior by police.

“In this day and age, it's especially important for the confidence of the public to have body cameras as well,” he says.

County Executive George Latimer calls bodycams the only way to document any police-civilian incident.

“We've had so many incidents where the civilian will claim certain things are done, or the police officer will claim that the civilian acted in a certain way,” he says.

Data storage for the bodycams is expensive. County officials say it will cost a half-million dollars to buy 150 to 200 of them, with several years of data storage included.

Yonkers Detective Keith Olson, who is also president of the County's Affiliated Police Association, calls bodycams just a bad idea.

“There's no study out there that they make a community safer. Not a single study,” he says.

Olson tells News 12 there are also major privacy concerns with the cameras, which are already in use with Greenburgh and White Plains police.

“When the police are called, it's usually at a family's or person's worst moment. If you're on a domestic incident, do you want cameras rolling at that moment?”

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