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MTA agrees to equip Bridge and Tunnel officers with body cameras

The MTA says its nearly 400 Bridge and

The MTA says its nearly 400 Bridge and Tunnel officers will have body cameras by the first quarter of 2022. Credit: Jim Staubitser

The MTA has agreed to equip its Bridge and Tunnel officers with body cameras, following a recommendation from the MTA’s internal watchdog, who believes the technology will prove useful when "emotions run high" between officers and the public.

The recommendation was one of many made by the office of Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny in an audit of transparency and accountability measures among its nearly 400 MTA Bridge and Tunnel officers.

Although technically not police, the officers carry guns and enforce traffic and safety laws at MTA crossings. Most recently, the officers were deployed to help prevent fare evasion on New York City buses.

"The goal of transparency is served every time an agency shares camera footage with the public, allowing community members to witness with their own eyes the actions police officers have taken," the report said.

In its response to the report, the MTA pledged to develop a plan to fit officers with body cameras by the first quarter of next year.

MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said the agency is "exploring all our options" and will follow the lead of the MTA Police Department, which has rolled out its own officer body camera plan.

Wayne Joseph, president of the MTA Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association, said through a spokesman that he was reserving comment until he could fully review the report and its recommendations.

The report examined officer behavior complaints made by the public, and found them to be "gratifyingly low," with just over one concerning complaint a month between mid-2017 and mid-2020.

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