BOSTON - A new report is out on the effectiveness of Boston police officers wearing body cameras.
A review shows some benefits to officers outfitted with the high-tech equipment. The data showed modest differences in police interactions with cameras versus without them, but whether it is worth the cost of the full program is yet to be seen.
For the last year, a Boston police body camera pilot program aimed to measure the effectiveness of the high-tech, but expensive tool. One hundred cameras were assigned to 281 officers in five districts and as of Wednesday, the initial findings are out.
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Twelve fewer citizen complaints for officers wearing cameras, compared to the control group, and seven fewer use of force complaints, although these incidents were not complaints from the public, but self-reported by officers themselves.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans says to judge effectiveness of the cameras, we will have to wait for full analysis in June.
"They'll look at the nature and quality of police interventions, they'll look at legality of a lot of the actions the officers took, they'll look at police productivity, as well as get feedback from the public," said Evans.
Commissioner Evans says he got very little negative feedback from the officers themselves and from the Police Patrolmans Association.
"Other than implementing, when we had to go to court, I think they rolled with it, I really didn't hear anything negative over the course of the year, other than more technical, some of the cameras were falling off," said Evans.
But Segun Iwodu, lead organizer for the Boston Police Camera Action Team says the real opposition to rolling out the full program is stemming from the 5th floor of city hall, with Mayor Marty Walsh, who is inclined to pacify the union.
"Honestly, the union, and it's not even the union members again, it's the union leadership who seem to be opposed to a devise that's going to make them more accountable and more transparent," said Iwodu.
Wednesday night, Walsh released a statement saying:
"Boston has become a model for strong community policing and our goal is to continue building trust and positive relationships between residents and law enforcement. Ultimately, we want to be sure that any investment in public safety supports this work and I look forward to learning more."
The full report is due to be released in June.
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