On Monday, October 4, 2021, the Newberg-Dundee Police Department (NDPD) took another step forward in their mission to improve community safety and increase transparency through the use of body-worn cameras .
After applying for a grant to purchase the cameras, the department distributed cameras to a small sample of three agents to assess the features and logistics of three different camera suppliers. Camera testing is the second step in the process planned by the departments. Once the trials are complete, the ministry plans to issue a request for proposal, select a vendor, complete the grant funding process, and create an intentional strategy around the implementation and the policy.
The NDPD plans to promote community discourse by opening up politics to comments and questions. Chief Kosmicki stressed, “I think it’s important to develop a policy that benefits the whole community… we want to be transparent in discussing the policy and answering the questions that are going to arise.
Body-worn cameras not only increase transparency, but the department is also excited about their ability to protect all parties involved in an interaction, promote civility, provide evidence for investigations, and produce training materials. potential for officers.
“We want to be as transparent as possible. I want people to have confidence in this department that we will always do our best, I think having a camera can help us get there, ”said Police Chief Jeff Kosmicki.
The cameras and infrastructure are expected to cost $ 480,000 over 5 years. The NDPD has applied for a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Body-worn Cameras Policy and Implementation Program to support law enforcement agencies. If successful, this funding would cover the cost of purchasing the cameras in one year.
The camera trials represent a step forward for a goal that the department has set since 2015. With new funding opportunities, the department is delighted to start the program with the knowledge gained over the years. Chief Kosmicki said: “We have the advantage of being able to learn from other agencies and the challenges they faced during implementation. We take a holistic approach to this program so that the fit curve is as smooth as possible.
Body-worn camera testing will allow the department to assess various components of the cameras and implementing systems, including financial cost, technical issues, privacy concerns, data storage, digital security and security. consideration of human error. An example of an important feature being evaluated is the ability of a camera to automatically activate and start recording when an agent is faced with an emergency. File storage and ease of use are also considered, including cataloging, retrieving, sharing, and censoring personally identifiable information in records.
The NDPD is currently implementing a draft body-worn camera policy that will be reviewed after testing is complete. Part of the review process will include a conversation with community members about the policy and its implementation. Chief Kosmicki expects policy to change dramatically throughout the camera testing and review process, before reaching consensus.
Source: City of Newberg