Could NYS Police be next in line for body cameras?

LISTEN: Body cameras discussion with Pat Gallivan

Mike Baggerman
September 23, 2019 - 3:00 am

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Could New York State Police be the next police force to receive body cameras.

According to Spectrum News, the union that represents state police doesn't oppose a push to require troopers to wear the body worn cameras.

State Senator Patrick Gallivan said there's no question that body cameras are a useful tool for police but that they won't solve every problem.

"They shouldn't be considered a panacea," Gallivan told WBEN. "Policing is still about human interaction. The best police officer has compassion, is forthright, is properly trained, and makes very judicious decisions."

Gallivan is a fan of the transparency that body cameras has but worried about the cost of the cameras and storage.

"The larger the police agency, the more expensive it can be," Gallivan said. "...Ultimately the legislature will have to provide the funding that I think would be estimated probably in the neighborhood of $15 million a year. That has to come from somewhere."

Gallivan said the decision on body cameras is best left to New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett. The senator predicts the legislature will try to move body cameras forward if it has the support amongst the superintendent and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"If the state police is pursuing this as a budget request in next year's budget or if the governor's office is looking to do it, I'd be supportive of it," he said. "If they choose not to, I'd respect their decision. I just see this as an additional tool to use in modern times. There's some positives with it and negatives with it. Based on my experience, I know that this is not the perfect solution. It comes with some potential problems and costs."

Buffalo Police, Niagara Falls Police, and Amherst Police are among the local municipalities that currently have body cameras. The Erie County Sheriff's Office is also in the process of implementing body cameras. The Erie County Sheriff's estimated their cost to be $1 million per year. Buffalo Police is paying more than $2 million over five years for the cameras.

Gallivan, the former Erie County Sheriff, said there's been enough use of body cameras across the country to determine that there are more positives than negatives. Gallivan was sheriff from 1998 to 2005.

"The State Police utilizes state of the art equipment to detect and prevent crime and protect officers in performing theirt duties," a NYS Police Spokesperson said in a written statement. "The State POlice has been and continues to evaluate new technologies and believes body-worn and dash-mounted cameras are effective investigative tools."

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