Freeport police officer Richard Paulik demonstrates the use of the...

Freeport police officer Richard Paulik demonstrates the use of the body cameras during a press conference to announce the full deployment of a body and in-car camera program to include every police officer on patrol, and every marked vehicle on the road today Thursday March 26, 2015 at the Freeport Police headquarters. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

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.

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.

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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