The NYPD is expanding use of body cams, and they want your input on how to use them (really)

The NYPD is expanding use of body cams, and they want your input on how to use them (really)
The NYPD is testing out body cams, like this one used in North Charleston, to improve accountability. Photo by Ryan Johnson, via Flickr user northcharleston.

Today is just the latest in a seemingly unending series of days where you wake up, look at the news and shake your head wondering what the fuck we’re going to do about anything. Technology surrounds all these events and consumes them — we get videos of the incidents now and have upgraded to Facebook Live streaming of the murder of black people by police and yet still it seems optimistic to hope that anything will change any time soon. Technology has promised accountability of these incidents but it comes in an inseparable box set with gruesome images, haunting voices and frustrating proof that maybe video evidence still isn’t good enough.

More of that technology will be coming to NYC soon: The NYPD will soon begin test program of installing 1,000 body cameras on its officers in several precincts throughout the city. Now it wants your feedback in this survey on setting the rules for how the cameras will be used — including when officers should turn them on, and who gets to see the footage. Seems like a good day to get your voice heard.

The fairly brief NYPD survey asks whether you agree/disagree with statements such as: “New York City police officers should use body-worn cameras” and in which situations “officers should be required to use body-worn cameras to record:” Options including during arrests, searches of the home and any interactions with the public.

Of course, body cams have their problems: the Baton Rouge officers who killed Alton Sterling say theirs conveniently fell off during the murder. And lots of incidents that have been caught on camera, like Staten Island’s Eric Garner, haven’t led to convictions of the officers involved anyway. NYPD’s program started with 54 cameras and is expanding to 1,000 this summer.

The NYPD is also asking whether you think a person who has an interaction with an officer should be able to see the footage upon request, and whether news reporters or advocacy groups should be able to gain access to the videos too (yes, please).

The survey is in conjunction with the NYU School of Law’s Policing Project. Details on the NYPD’s proposed camera program can be found here.

If you’re feeling like you need to have your voice heard in a more public way, there’s a Justice for Alton Sterling & Philando Castile rally in Union Square this evening.

(h/t Ariel Abramowitz)



  1. Maria pires

    Yes if they dont take it off and say it fell off or its no fuctioning if they dont use these excuss yes they should all officer need to have it like i said if they dont make up these excusses to cover there ass wen there ip to no good

  2. Sophie Marcopoulos

    I request that footage on officers’ body cams are able to be submitted as evidence even in cases against officers. People who have interactions with officers should be able to see the footage upon request.

  3. German

    I want to start off by saying, cops should not JUST be wearing cameras, too easy to dismantle or damage. The gun is what should have a built in camera. As soon as the safety is off, the camera is engaged and captures exactly what the weapon is targeting, at the point of engagement. This is important not for just police but “lawful” gun owners.

  4. Dianna Normanton

    Officers need to be trained differently. They are supposed to be Peace officers, to protect and to serve.

    Instead most officers seem to be intimidation officers, who use their position as power to intimidate, harass, and put people down for the littlest reason.

    Perhaps people who apply to be a police officer should be screened much more carefully. It seems many ( not all) are racist, intimated and afraid themselves, and should not be admitted to police academy in the first place.

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