In Brief
  • New York City's mayor has announced that all of the city's patrol officers will wear body cameras by the end of 2019, a contract that could cost upwards of $250 million.
  • While the implementation should result in a more accurate and fair justice system, clear policies for the use of body cameras still need to be ironed out.

New York City’s finest are about to get a tech upgrade. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, together with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil, made an announcement this week that body cameras are going to become mandatory for all of the city’s patrol officers.

The agreement to equip all New York City policemen with body cameras was made with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, according to Mayor de Blasio. He tweeted that it “represents a big step forward for a vision of safety for which police and community are true partners.” In another tweet, the NYC mayor said the deal is an example of a fair negotiation in which “there are contributions made from both sides. That’s what happened here.”

The deal to provide body cameras to policemen, potentially worth as much as a quarter of a billion dollars over a period of 14 years, has been in the making for months. Just last year, the city settled with VieVu to supply 5,000 cameras. It’s unclear who will pay for the cameras, with de Blasio saying both taxpayers and officers are “making contributions.”

Implementation would be tricky, though, as clear policies for the use of body cameras have yet to be ironed out. There’s also a NYC court ruling regarding restricting public access to footage from police body cameras. The video footage itself can be cut, edited, or even deleted. Still, with two years before full implementation, the city has time to figure out the details.