Verona Police Rolling Out Body Cams

By on October 31, 2018

The Verona Police Department announced on its Twitter feed today that its uniformed officers will begin using body-worn cameras as soon as tomorrow, November 1. The VPD had given the Verona Town Council a demonstration of the body cams this past September 17 and said at the time that it likely would deploy them across the force 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.

Chief Kiernan told the Council that the body cams 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.

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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.

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