Gov. Jack Markell and Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) Secretary Lew Schiliro announced a body camera pilot last week that will be implemented in state and municipal police forces across Delaware.
The pilot plans come on the heels of an extensive DSHS body camera evaluation studying the pros and cons of integrating the technology into standard law enforcement procedure. Late last year, Markell, Schiliro and Delaware State Police Colonel Nate McQueen met with NAACP reps to ensure the pilot would not overstep citizens’s rights.
“I am convinced that effective use of body cameras can both help police officers protect our citizens while strengthening trust between law enforcement and all of the communities they serve,” said Markell in a press release. The pilot will see the implementation of “about a dozen” body cameras over the span of 30-45 days.
It comes at a time when a fatal police-involved shooting is stirring up anger in Wilmington.
The state has released a Request for Information asking body camera manufacturers to submit proposals. The cameras must operate on a cloud-based data storage platform, be capable of capturing real-time activities and be able to retain the images it captures.
Chief William Bryson, Chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs Council, has voiced his concern with the expense.
“The financial commitment required to implement a comprehensive body camera program is currently beyond the reach of many police departments’ budgets,” he said, adding that several police departments already have a body camera program in place.
McQueen, however, is optimistic.
The pilot, he said, will “provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate the different types of technology, evidence management, data storage available and to finalize a uniformed body-worn camera policy.”
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