Business, Central New York, Community, Public Safety

Body Cameras are Coming Back to Syracuse

By Epiphany Catling, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCCNews)–The Syracuse Police Department received 100 Axon Body 2 Cameras.  The department will use the cameras free for one year. During this year, the police department will observe how the cameras fit with the Syracuse community and the police officers.

These cameras record footage in HD, can store up to 64 GB of data and stays charged for about 70 hours.

In 2017 the department purchased 16 body cameras through Vievu, but the officers are no longer wearing those due to the price. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler says the community asked for more body cameras.

“We’re able to outfit more officers and in doing so we’re going to learn more about the body warn cameras and what they mean to our community and if they’re a good fit with our community and our law enforcement,” Fowler said.

To introduce the cameras to the public, the police department held two informational meetings on June sixth and sevenths.  At the meetings, Detective Mark Rusin explained more about the cameras like how the cameras work and what happens to the data. People in the community had a chance to ask questions to Detective Rusin after his presentation.  Some of the questions were answered while others were not.

When asked how many police officers are on duty at a time, Fowler and Rusin refused to answer.  It is still undetermined what percentage of on-duty officers will have a body camera.

A popular question at the meeting was why the body cameras will not be on at all times.  Syracuse native Pat Reynolds wanted to make sure the cameras hold police officers accountable for their actions.

“I’ve always been proud of the city of Syracuse and the police department and I just want to ensure that these new cameras do the right thing,” said Reynolds

Rusin said if the officers’ camera is off, that officer did so for a reason.

“It is important to protect the citizens’ privacy. If someone is giving me their license number and date of birth and then someone falls. I have to turn over the footage with the driver’s personal information,” said Rusin.

The Police department is still finalizing some aspects associated with the body cameras. For example, they are still trying to determine if an officer under investigation will be allowed to watch the body camera footage before writing an incident report. Fowler says the department is ready to learn with the community.