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You may notice that all of our uniformed Officers will be wearing a body-worn camera on their persons. This is the culmination of a long process and we are proud to give you a little insight into how it all came about. Ultimately, we feel this program will provide us with greater access to information and evidence to better serve the community and will allow for increased transparency and public trust.
The Department has been using video recordings of incidents since we began using our Mobile Video Recording (MVR) systems in all of our patrol vehicles more than ten years ago. These systems have proved to be very effective and are now a normal addition to a vast array of criminal prosecutions. We started to consider increasing this program to include the body-worn cameras several years ago. At that time the Pennsylvania laws that govern these types of recordings made the implementation of the program difficult and Chief Joseph J. Gleason did not want to put any of our officers in a situation where they could inadvertently break the law. We decided to wait and the Pennsylvania Legislature changed that law in 2017. We then began moving forward with the project.
We conducted research into the available technology, the overall cost of the project and how it would integrate with our current MVR system and found that the company that produced our MVR systems, WatchGuard, would be the best choice for our department. Chief Gleason requested the purchase of the camera systems for the 2020 budget and the Board of Supervisors approved the project. Chief Gleason decided to apply for State grant money so that each uniformed officer could be issued a body-worn camera. Lt. Justin DiMedio worked diligently on the grant and we were approved in July of 2020. We then completed the order and received all of the cameras in October of this year. We were able to complete all of the necessary training in early December and officially rolled out the program on December 22, 2020.
While it is still early in the life of the program we look forward to some great success stories and possibly a speed bump or two. We believe this is a great example of your Township’s Police Department and Board of Supervisors working together to enhance the safety and security of its residents.
Chief Michael P. Carroll