Guilderland Police to get body and car cameras

GUILDERLAND — The town board voted unanimously to have the Guilderland Police Department spend $77,000 to purchase body and vehicle cameras for its on-duty officers. Guilderland Police Chief Carol Lawlor believes cameras will protect both officers and the public.

There will be no expensive video storage or maintenance fees, and no new personnel hired, Lawlor told The Enterprise this week.

The police department will buy a new server, at a cost of about $5,000 to store the videos, for “probably three to six months,” Lawlor said.

The server is “a storage unit, basically, just for the videos,” she said.

The officers will each download the video footage from their own equipment onto the server upon their return to the town hall, Lawlor said.

Then, “If we need them [the videos], we will be able to pull them out,” she said.

Lawlor has been looking into the purchase of cameras for some time, she said.

“Cameras and social media are part of our life now,” she said. “A lot of the officers are being taped by other people, anyway, at the mall or at traffic stops, and I think it’s time for us to do the same thing,” she said.

The purchase is not in response to any particular incident, she said. She emphasized that she has “no mistrust” of her officers and that there have been no complaints. The police union has not expressed any opposition to using cameras, she said.

The department has 13 marked cars, she said, and the force has 26 uniformed officers, so the department will buy 13 car cameras and 26 body cameras from Coban Technologies for $77,389.

She said that the department has been testing various products, and that the ones it selected are “a good product, economically priced.”

The car cameras and the red lights will be activated within 30 seconds of each other, she said. Policies for the body cameras are still being developed, but Lawlor expects that the cameras will need to be on whenever officers are talking with people or whenever they get out of the car, other than on breaks.

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