Officials in Worcester, Massachusetts, are showcasing new technology that will soon be incorporated into everyday policing there, law enforcement in the Bay State's second city prepare to launch its Body Worn Camera Program.
The program is launching next Monday, Feb. 27, when the Worcester Police Department's 300 officers will be equipped with the body cameras during their shifts. The city said that all officers have been trained on how to use the cameras, and the launch follows a pilot program that was done in 2019.
An event demonstrating the new technology was held at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, and was set to include Mayor Joseph Petty, Chair of Public Safety, Councilor Kate Toomey, City Manager Eric Batista and Chief Steven Sargent.
"We expect to see many benefits from body cameras including enhanced police transparency and accountability, improved police training, assistance in investigating complaints and assisting with de-escalation," Chief Sargant said.
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During the pilot program for the cameras, which ran from May until November of 2019, 7,707 videos were generated, resulting in 1,100 hours of video. In 2020, an evaluation and assessment was done, which was followed by community listening events that happened in 2021.
The final proposal for the program was filed in 2022 to Worcester City Council and a recommended policy was written.
The city ended up awarding the contact to Axon, which supplied the 300 cameras and provided 16 hours of training.