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Police union president: County has 'no plan' for cops' body cameras

Freeport police officer Richard Paulik demonstrates the use

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

The Nassau County Police Department has "no plan" for implementing its body camera pilot program and the lack of preparation could leave officers inadequately trained and subject to unfair discipline, the president of the department's largest police union said Tuesday.

Police Benevolent Association president James Carver, who said he plans to file an injunction with the Public Employment Relations Board to prevent the program from beginning Aug. 1, said he spoke once briefly with acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter about body cameras. Carver said Krumpter is required to negotiate with the union on the use of body cameras, an assertion department officials dispute.

"Our concern as police officers is basically -- how will it be implemented?" Carver said. "As stated yesterday by the commissioner, there's not even a policy in place yet . . . They should be sitting down talking to us about this."

Krumpter and County Executive Edward Mangano on Monday said the department would outfit 31 of its some 2,200 members with body cameras in a yearlong trial. Krumpter, who said officers would receive four hours of training, declined to specify the department's policy on the use of body cameras.

In a written statement Tuesday, Krumpter said that "discussions, planning and training" for the program "will occur between now and August 1."

Carver, who said the cameras could have a positive impact by "dramatically decreasing" false complaints made against officers, also lashed out at comments Krumpter made Monday, when he said the cameras would "ensure that officers are doing their job correctly and appropriately when interacting with the community."

Carver called Krumpter's comments "very disturbing to my members."

Carver said: "Let me be adamant about this, our police officers do the right thing each and every day, and they don't need a camera around their neck to have the public be assured that they're doing the right thing."

In response, Krumpter said the department has "the finest officers in the nation and they have the full support of this office. This program is a pilot to test new technology that has proved beneficial to police officers and their agencies across the country and it in no way suggests any lack of confidence in the men and women of this department."

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