The Fulton County city of Gloversville this week began outfitting its police force with body cameras. The devices are becoming standard practice in many police departments as video technology becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives — and departments come under increasing scrutiny.
Beginning this week, all patrol officers and shift supervisors in Gloversville are wearing body cameras.
Gloversville police began a trial program last summer and another in the fall.
Police Captain Mike Scott said the cameras and recorded video help put administrators back where the officers were when reviewing an incident.
“And to get the whole story. It doesn’t take place of witness statements or the officer’s accounts, of that nature. I think it’s just a truer picture of the incident,” said Scott.
When the cameras are charged at the end of a shift, video is uploaded to the cloud automatically.
With patrol officers and a sergeant wearing cameras, up to six cameras are on the street on a typical shift.
Captain Scott said the cameras are budgeted for the next five years.
Gloversville Mayor Dayton King says the city is budgeting for the cameras now and hopes to take advantage of grant funding in the future to help pay for costs associated with them. The city created a new position within the police department to manage and retrieve video upon request.
King said the city and Police Chief Marc Porter got some advice from a nearby community before implementing the program.
“I’m really excited for it. Chief Porter has done a lot of research, went over to Saratoga Springs and spent some time with their guys and got familiar with it over there before we said ‘looks cool, we should do it.’ So, yeah, I’m excited about it,” said King.
The Saratoga Springs Police Department began using body cameras in a pilot program in 2012, one of the first in the greater Capital Region to do so.
Now, almost five years later, all patrol officers are outfitted with a camera.
Saratoga Springs Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Bob Jillson said the program is working well, but admitted it did take a little bit of time to iron out the kinks.
“As far as, you know, getting and having enough cameras. And the administration has done a great job of securing funds to outfit everybody with them. Technology changes, as far as the costs associated with them. It comes with the territory. And we, as an agency, we’ve working to keep the program going and absorbing the costs here in our budget,” said Jillson.
The Gloversville Police Department is encouraging feedback from the community as it implements the new technology.