Freeport police to expand cop camera program

Nassau County PBA president James Carver held a news conference on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, to talk about the proposed body camera program for Nassau police. Carver called the implementation a rush to judgment and cited negative aspects of the program, including possible disciplinary actions towards the police due to a lack of policy in place. (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

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An existing in-car and body-camera pilot program being tested by the Freeport police department is being expanded to the departmentwide level, the department and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Thursday.

The cameras -- a cigar-shaped recording device worn under an officer's shoulder-level epaulet, as well as in-car video recording systems -- will be paid for with $108,000 in asset-forfeiture funds, Rice said.

That funding will allow Freeport to purchase 30 additional body cameras, as well as 11 additional in-car systems.

StoryOfficials: Some LI cops to wear body cameras

Officials said the pilot program has proved the cameras to be a valuable tool in keeping officers safe, as well as providing valuable evidence for prosecutors and police.

Officials said the cameras also help protect citizens' rights.

"These cameras have proven to be an extremely beneficial tool in fighting crime, providing better policing and supporting crime victims," Freeport Police Chief Miguel Bermudez said in a statement.

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The pilot program, launched in January, was tested with four body cameras and eight in-car systems.

Benefits of the cameras, according to Bermudez, are recording victim statements, chronicling injuries, documenting the actions of a defendant at the time of arrest, evidence gathering at crime scenes, providing documentation from an officer's perspective at the scene of a crime or stop, and reducing false complaints against police officers.

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