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Body Cameras Gaining Popularity After White Plains Police Pilot Program

Rookie police officer Pasquale Santucci was one of two Ossining officers whose rescue was captured on a body video camera. Photo Credit: WCBS
An example of a mini police camera that can be clipped to a shirt, jacket or belt. Photo Credit: Provided/Taser

WESTCHESTER, N.Y. -- After successful pilot programs in Ossining and White Plains, a half dozen Westchester County police departments are now using body cameras or plan to buy them for their patrol officers this year.

The Westchester County Public Safety Department, which has coverage areas throughout the county, is among the local agencies planning to equip its officers with cameras.

Advocates including the U.S. Justice Department believe the cameras can help in reducing threats to police, as well as keep rogue officers from using excessive force on suspects.

The New York State Police also is reviewing the option of using cameras as well as other technology to enhance patrols, according to Beau Duffy, a state police spokesman.

The cameras are about the size of a pack of cigarettes, and capture a wide angle view of what the officer is seeing.

New Rochelle police are already using body cameras on patrols, and several other police departments plan to buy them this year including Greenburgh and White Plains.

Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said the town will buy 18 police body cameras in this year's capital budget and apply for federal funding. The new technology has been endorsed by the NAACP of White Plains-Greenburgh, Feiner said.

White Plains is expected to be the first police department in Westchester to equip all of its uniformed police officers with cameras starting this fall, following a 10-month pilot program using five cameras. Fifty cameras and related software, training and technology are expected to cost White Plains about $80,000.

Yonkers police and the Putnam County Sheriff's Department also are considering buying police cameras.

Federal funds were promised by President Obama following last summer's fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. Obama asked Congress to spend $75 million to equip 50,000 police officers nationwide.

Ossining police have been using six body cameras since the fall, and recently captured video rescuing people from carbon monoxide poisoning..

Ossining police officers rescued a toddler, a 14-year-old girl, and their mother Wednesday after carbon monoxide poisoning rendered them unconscious, according to CBS New York.

Police union officials and foundations say the cameras reduce false arrest accusations and lawsuits.

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