Town Council Gets Demo Of Police Body Cams

By on September 20, 2018

Verona Town CouncilThe Verona Town Council met on Monday, September 17 and got a demonstration of the new body cams that the Verona Police Department will deploy in mid-October. 

Chief Christopher Kiernan told the Council that the cameras capture not only still images, but video, audio and radio microphone. This will make it possible for the body cams to replace the walk-talkies that Verona officers now carry. The video will automatically upload to a secure cloud storage service when an officer returns to headquarters, and they can tag each video according to incident, which will specify how long the video must be retained in Verona’s records. The cameras will capture the GPS location of each incident and embed it in the image file. A case-by-case password-protected system will make it possible to share files for courts and discovery through the cloud, although the VPD will still have to burn disks if images are sought under an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request.

“It’s the biggest change in law enforcement in my 28 years, but it is certainly welcome,” Chief Kiernan said, adding that the cameras will provide extra safety to the public and to Verona’s officers.

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Chief Kiernan explained that the body cams, which will be rolled out in mid-October, will be activated “on every public interaction” that the police have. People can request that the camera be turned off, but the police will follow law enforcement rules, which means that sometimes the camera will stay on. Verona will also be giving officers Tasers later this year.

The first-year cost of the system is $39,000, which is largely being offset by $35,000 in grants from the Department of Justice and the Joint Insurance Fund. The remaining four years will cost $26,000 each. Chief Kiernan noted that Cedar Grove, Bloomfield and Newark are moving to body cams, as well as the Essex County and state police forces.

In other business, Verona will be making changes to its personnel contracting system, which will give the town additional flexibility hiring for professional service contracts and retaining or terminating those positions. Town Manager Matt Cavallo also said that the bid for Verona’s garbage collection has been opened, and that no response has been received from the White House to Verona’s request for a disaster declaration after the August 11 rain storm. Cavallo also noted that Verona has gotten a $282,000 grant for breathing apparatus for the Verona Fire Department.

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The agenda for Monday’s meeting is here. You can watch the full video below.

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