Cops, Courts and Fire Government

Group Of Troopers To Test Body-Worn Cameras

A body camera system being tested in April 2018 by federal law enforcement.
Credit: Tosh Cuellar

Pennsylvania State Police troopers will begin a pilot program that will have then wearing body cameras.

The agency that is deployed across the 46,000-square-mile state will deploy body cameras at the Uniontown, Fayette County; Avondale, Chester County; and Somerset, Somerset County, barracks, officials announced Tuesday.

State police said troopers at those three locations have received training and will don the body-worn cameras while on duty through the end of the year.

“I am an ardent supporter of the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement,” said Acting Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Lt. Colonel Evanchick. “The real-world experiences and information learned through this pilot program will help the department fine-tune internal training, regulations, and processes to ensure the department is best prepared for wider implementation.”

Last year, a $52,000 federal grant was awarded to the state police so they could develop policy and training surrounding the use of body-worn cameras. The funding also went to purchase the 30 body-worn cameras being used in the pilot study.

Troopers developed an interim policy regulating to equipment use, data storage, and duties and responsibilities related to the new system.

Input from the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association was used, state police said.

“Engaging stakeholders throughout the process empowers the State Police to use this important technology to benefit of all Pennsylvanians,” said Evanchick. “Backed by sound policy and training, body-worn cameras have the potential to not only increase public confidence in law enforcement but also serve as a valuable investigative resource.”

The interim policy has been posted online for the public to review.

State police will be using body-worn cameras manufactured by WatchGuard.

The largest cost of the program is not the cameras but the data storage and bandwidth, officials said.

Expanding the program among the 4,300-trooper agency will be costly and the state will evaluate all options in the future, officials said.

Last year, Pennsylvania passed a law that opponents said will hinder the public’s right to access.

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