West Chester Twp. police plan to add 50 body cameras

After five years of study and a pilot program with West Chester Twp. police trying out different body cameras, the trustees are ready to move ahead on the new program.

Police Chief Joel Herzog said he plans to present a contract and price for approval of purchasing a 50-camera system at their next meeting, at an estimated cost is $150,000 to $200,000 over five years.

RELATED: Fairfield buys police body cameras

The chief showed the trustees various videos on Tuesday — 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.

Pictured is a type of police body camera. West Chester Twp. budgeted $125,000 for the cameras this year, but has yet to implement them. GREG LYNCH/STAFF (Staff Writer)

The chief said everyone who is stopped by an officer wearing a camera will know it.

“It is very obvious, the ones we decided on are the ones that mount right here in front,” Herzog said in answer to Trustee Mark Welch. “It is very obvious he’s wearing a body camera, and the idea is we’re not trying to hide anything, it’s not that I know I’m recording, you don’t, it’s a two-way street here.”

RELATED: West Chester $30.8 million safety services budget includes police body cams

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