West Chester Twp. police will be sporting a new piece of equipment soon, now that trustees approved the purchase of 50 body cameras.
Trustees approved spending $151,999 over five years in a contract with Axon Enterprises, Inc.
The township has studied use of the implements for five years of study and even tested out several models during a pilot program. During a budget presentation earlier this year Chief Joel Herzog explained why it has taken so long to implement the program.
“We are exploring the implementation of body worn cameras to meet the community expectations for transparency and to serve as a critical training tool,” he said. “I appreciate the patience the board has shown during this process. The acquisition and implementation of body worn cameras has continually been studied while we waited for the courts to consider their application from a public records and enforcement standpoint.”
Before the trustees granted their approval Herzog showed them various videos — traffic stops, in alleys, in people’s homes, during daylight — that were created with the cameras. In one, he said the ability to collect audio was key, because it was dark and visibility was low but a viewer can hear the suspect struggling, trying to get the officer’s gun and at one point kicking him in the groin.
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