Portsmouth police to try body cameras

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Starting on Sept. 1, the Portsmouth Police Department will be wearing body cameras for a 30-day trial period while out on patrol.

These cameras will video and audio record officers interactions with the public. During this period a limited number of cameras have been issued to officers. The officers utilizing the body cameras have received extensive training and will be informing people that they are being recorded. If a member of the public that the officer is interacting with declines to be recorded, the officer will use his or her judgment on whether to continue use of the camera, depending on the situation and evidentiary nature. Interactions with witnesses who request anonymity or confidentiality will not be recorded.

The high-definition, wireless body camera attaches to the shirt pocket of an officer’s uniform. The use of the camera is most effective if it is worn on the chest, where a magnet is behind an article of the officer’s clothing and holds the camera in place. Officers assigned to the body cameras will return to the police headquarters where they will put the camera into a dock that will download the recordings from that shift. The data will be stored and time stamped and held in a secure server.

The use of body cameras are trending throughout the law enforcement community and have been found to be useful in capturing spontaneous utterances, evidence and situations that could not be otherwise depicted. The goal of the implementation of the body cameras by the Portsmouth Police Department is to enhance community relations by building trust and forging transparency.

A full review of the body camera policy can be found at our website PortsmouthRI.com.

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