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Bay City Police to experiment with body-worn cameras

1384507875pem40Police officers in Bay City will start off the new year wearing body cameras for the first time, as part of a 90 day pilot program.

The body-worn cameras will be used in an effort to increase transparency within the department. The department will be testing camera systems from at least two different vendors.

Michael Cecchini is the Public Safety Director for Bay City.

He said use of the new cameras will be part of each officer’s daily routine.

“You’d have a policy that directs the officer to turn the camera on anytime he’s out for investigation or contacting a citizen, and then that interaction is recorded and then at the end of shift downloaded.”

Cecchini said the cameras would be switched on for things like traffic stops, field interrogations, or whenever an officer is dispatched to a call.

He said body cameras have been proven effective in studies conducted by the National Institute of Justice.

“Which indicates that the use of body worn cameras reduces citizens complaints by 40%. There’s a University of Cambridge study that indicates the the use of body worn cameras reduces incidents of use of force by officers by 57%.”

Cecchini said body-worn cameras are becoming highly sought after systems for their low-cost and effectiveness.

Following the trial period, Cecchini said a recommendation will be made to the City Commission to either purchase the equipment, or discontinue the program.