New York proposal seeks body cameras for state police

Some lawmakers are proposing to equip state troopers with body cameras in New York, one of few states where the primary law enforcement agency doesn’t have body or dashboard cameras already.

News 12 Staff

Nov 29, 2019, 9:12 PM

Updated 1,661 days ago

Share:

New York proposal seeks body cameras for state police
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Some lawmakers are proposing to equip state troopers with body cameras in New York, one of few states where the primary law enforcement agency doesn’t have body or dashboard cameras already.
A nationwide Associated Press survey found that New York State Police are the largest primary state law enforcement agency not equipped with cameras. Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts also don’t have them.

Hawaii’s agency does not have the camera technology, but it also does not have a state-level highway patrol, so it has far fewer interactions with citizens.

The New York bill, introduced this fall and backed by state Sen. Kevin Parker and state Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, also outlines when state troopers should record their on-duty interactions.

Patrol cameras are regularly praised by law enforcement experts as ways to increase transparency and hold officers and citizens accountable.

“Everybody acts differently when (someone) is watching,” Parker said.

With about 5,100 sworn members and no body or dashboard cameras, New York state police remain an outlier when compared to other large city and state police agencies across the U.S., the Associated Press survey found.

State police say it once had VHS cameras, and later digital cameras on a limited number of vehicles. But the agency said it did not have the funds to continue the VHS cameras and the digital cameras required “costly maintenance.”

Under the legislation, body cameras would start recording immediately before a state trooper leaves their patrol vehicle for a situation or when they pull someone over, Parker said.

The Brooklyn Democrat did not have estimates on how much the program will cost, but said he aims to pass the legislation and then factor the cost of the program into the state budget.

The legislation also allows troopers to record anytime they want to document their time on duty. Troopers would be allowed to stop recording when they conduct a strip search or talk with a confidential informant, according to the legislation.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers to equip state police with body cameras. An executive order signed in 2015 directs New York’s attorney general to investigate when police cause the death of unarmed civilians.

“It’s really critically important that we have transparency and accountability,” James told Spectrum News NY1.

Thomas Mungeer, president of the New York state troopers Police Benevolent Association, has said he is not advocating for dashboard cameras, but also does not oppose their implementation.

State police have declined to detail what factors currently prevent them from getting cameras. The agency did not comment on the proposal but says body cameras are effective investigative tools.

___

Ryan Tarinelli is a corps member for Report for America, a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage in a partnership with The Associated Press for New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
11/29/2019 2:38:06 PM (GMT -5:00)


More from News 12
0:28
​Poughkeepsie police: Man who pointed replica gun at officers disarmed, hospitalized

​Poughkeepsie police: Man who pointed replica gun at officers disarmed, hospitalized

2:11
Sunny, hot Monday kicks off scorching week in the Hudson Valley

Sunny, hot Monday kicks off scorching week in the Hudson Valley

2:09
Sleepy Hollow Sprint Triathlon raises money for youth summer program

Sleepy Hollow Sprint Triathlon raises money for youth summer program

0:21
Red Cross provides emergency assistance to 33 residents displaced by Yonkers fire

Red Cross provides emergency assistance to 33 residents displaced by Yonkers fire

1:50
Students sing their hearts out for the 2024 'Yonkers Idol' competition

Students sing their hearts out for the 2024 'Yonkers Idol' competition

Is your dad awesome? Hudson Valley tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? Hudson Valley tell us why your dad rocks!

2:02
 A potential heat wave is coming. These sunscreen tips can save your skin

A potential heat wave is coming. These sunscreen tips can save your skin

1:59
Revelers enjoy Juneteenth festival and parade in Yonkers

Revelers enjoy Juneteenth festival and parade in Yonkers

1:57
Rep. Bowman, Latimer encourage voters to cast ballots early

Rep. Bowman, Latimer encourage voters to cast ballots early

0:29
Police: 2 arrested for stabbing man in New Windsor

Police: 2 arrested for stabbing man in New Windsor

0:29
Saugerties man convicted of manslaughter for fatally beating man in 2022

Saugerties man convicted of manslaughter for fatally beating man in 2022

2:04
Village of Sleepy Hollow raises Pride flag for first time despite opposition from some residents

Village of Sleepy Hollow raises Pride flag for first time despite opposition from some residents

2:04
Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

1:39
Showing support for Ukraine in the Hudson Valley during Yonkers Ukrainian Heritage Festival

Showing support for Ukraine in the Hudson Valley during Yonkers Ukrainian Heritage Festival

0:47
Westchester Medical Center pioneers robotic procedure to help those with severe hearing loss

Westchester Medical Center pioneers robotic procedure to help those with severe hearing loss

0:29
Carmel police warn people about recent car burglaries

Carmel police warn people about recent car burglaries

0:35
Prosecutors: Former Wallkill firefighter sentenced to prison for 2021 arson incident

Prosecutors: Former Wallkill firefighter sentenced to prison for 2021 arson incident

1:47
EXCLUSIVE: News 12 uncovers police data that shows 19 children struck by vehicles in Ramapo in 6 months

EXCLUSIVE: News 12 uncovers police data that shows 19 children struck by vehicles in Ramapo in 6 months

1:28
Officials: 7 people injured, 13 families displaced in Yonkers fire

Officials: 7 people injured, 13 families displaced in Yonkers fire

1:03
PARENTS: Dutchess County children lost for 2 hours on nightmare bus ride home

PARENTS: Dutchess County children lost for 2 hours on nightmare bus ride home