Easthampton among 32 police departments receiving police body camera funding
EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Easthampton is one of 32 communities across the Commonwealth that is receiving state funding for police body cameras.
The cameras will soon be rolling for officers at the Easthampton Police Department. This week, the department was awarded more than $14,000 in state grant funding to help them get their new body camera program underway. Easthampton Police Chief Bob Alberti told Western Mass News that his officers are thrilled.
“The officers are very excited about having the cameras. Really, they’re doing such an amazing job on the street. This will be an amazing opportunity to provide accountability for the officers and the public at large,” Alberti said.
Easthampton is also one of 32 departments that is receiving a total of $2.5 million in this round of funding. Two months ago, Easthampton Police received a $40,000 grant to buy the cameras and other equipment that comes with them. Now, this new funding will cover the fiscal cost for storage of the footage and software updates. We spoke with Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, who praised this development and said both the officers and public will benefit.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for training and reviewing and taking a look at, ‘Okay, so how did we respond? Where were our units? Where did we deploy? What was really a good practice? What are we doing better?’” LaChapelle explained.
With cell phone video of police interactions while on the job making headlines nationwide over the last several years, LaChapelle said these cameras will assist with providing transparency.
“That there’s no smoke and mirrors. There’s no big dark curtain as far as what we do on emergency response and it’s a public record,”LaChapelle added.
Alberti agreed and also said this is a way to expand trust between the department and the community.
“It’ll give them [the officers] the opportunity to provide accountability on their interactions and provide what really happened in the interactions with the community and certainly with the community, the community will have access to this video and so they’ll be able to see the incredible job that our officers are doing,” Alberti noted.
Alberti said his officers will soon be trained to operate these cameras before using them in real life early next year.
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