Springfield becomes first major city in the state to have police - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield becomes first major city in the state to have police body cameras

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Springfield becomes the first major city in Massachusetts to have it's officers wear body cameras.

Although it could be a little while until cameras see action, the police commissioner is saying it's a step in the right direction.
 
It was a unanimous city council vote 11-to-1 Wednesday evening paved the way for Springfield police officers to now wear a cameras.
 
"Body camera's should definitely be something that the police department looks into because of the senseless killings that are going on and also to protect the police officers," said Shanell Brown of Springfield. 
 
Just last week a Springfield police officer was involved in shooting on Belmont Avenue. 

Commissioner John Barbieri said in this case, if the officer was wearing a body camera, we would see it from the officer's point of view.
 
"It's certainly much better than nothing. I think that would be a pretty dramatic body camera to see. We have a lot of cellphone videos but it's when the video starts and what perspective it is," said Barbieri. 
 
The commissioner said the body cameras can be turned on and off manually.  

He added that there are strict guidelines for when that could be the case which are still being ironed out.

Some of the instances where officers can record audio and video will be on vehicle stops and K-9 searches.

Barbieri noted the department is also still looking into how to store all of the video.
 
"Certainly storage is an issue. I believe we are looking for a lengthy period of storage," Barbieri continued. 
 
Jason Brown said he's is concerned that in some instances video could be misconstrued.
 
"Maybe something taken of out context if they weren't filming from the beginning of the incident. I feel like there should be some measurement," said Brown. 
 
Barbieri said it's still too early to say if this will change the way officers respond to calls.
 
"My hope is that through training that officers will respond to calls in the same manner. We don't want officers to get hurt so hopefully my goal would be that officers be professional at all time. I hope that all this would do is reflect that professionalism," Barbieri concluded. 
 
Councilors said the next step is for the city to buy the cameras which may take some time since companies will be proposing different bids.

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