BOSTON - After a successful, year-long pilot program, Boston Police officers will officially be equipped with body cameras.
Officers in South Boston and parts of Dorchester have already started receiving the body camera equipment, and will reportedly begin training next Monday and start wearing the cameras later this spring.
Despite opposition from the union representing officers, Boston Police participated in a one-year body camera pilot program.
A report jointly released by researchers at Northeastern University and the City of Boston last year says the cameras yield "small but meaningful benefits" in encounters between residents and police.
The number of complaints against officers and use of excessive force complaints also dropped slightly.
From 2013 to 2017, the number of complaints against officers decreased 46 percent, from 350 complaints in 2013 to 189 complaints in 2017. Additionally, use of force reports generated by BPD officers between 2013 and 2017 decreased by 52.3 percent, from 107 reports in 2014 to 51 use of force reports in 2017.
One hundred officers participated in the pilot program, which concluded in September 2017. The body cameras generated about 38,200 videos that covered more than 4,600 hours of police work in Boston neighborhoods.
“Boston is a model city in our nation for having strong police-community relations, and our goal is to continue building trust and positive relationships between law enforcement officers and community members," Mayor Marty Walsh told the Boston Globe.
Last year, the city projected the cost of the program to hit $8.5 million in the first three years, with a little more than $3 million a year after that.
"The Body Worn Camera Pilot process and study have been very important in understanding firsthand what members of the community believe will help the city move forward and how technology can play a role," said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. "I look forward to the opportunity to lead our officers in adding this program to our community policing strategy and strengthening relationships across this city."
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