City of Boston to extend police body camera pilot program
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans today announced an agreement with the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association (BPPA) to extend the Body Worn Camera Pilot Program by an additional six months to ensure sufficient data is available for an effective study of the program."This extension is a positive development and I look forward to continuing to build on the success of this pilot program," Mayor Walsh said. "We are fortunate to have one of the best police forces in the country and our officers work hand in hand with the community to make all neighborhoods safer. I thank Commissioner Evans and the BPPA for their continued willingness to work together on this initiative."
The extension agreement maintains that up to 100 patrol officers will be equipped with body cameras in which on-duty police activity will be conducted. Patrol officers currently equipped with body cameras will continue to participate in the pilot program. If necessary, replacement officers will be trained and assigned by the Boston Police Department.
"I am pleased that the pilot program will be continuing through what tends to be our busiest months of the year," Commissioner Evans said. "Extending through the summer will give us the opportunity to keep the body worn cameras out in the community and will provide additional data to assist with the assessment of the program. I would like to thank Mayor Walsh, the union leadership of the BPPA and the officers who are participating in this pilot program for their continued commitment to exploring this new policing tool."
Conducting the pilot program over a full year will allow for observations to be made in all seasons and various situations. Further, the BPD will issue a Request for Proposals, funded by the City of Boston, within two weeks to allow for independent analysis to be conducted by an expert in the field for a more comprehensive review of the available data, comparisons of body worn camera technologies and vendors and best practices for the BPD.
The Body Worn Camera Pilot Program was created by viewing best practices in other municipalities across the country with input from police departments and officers, the BPD Social Justice Task Force, the Harvard Law Criminal Justice Program and through community feedback.
The Mayor's Fiscal Year 2017 budget provided $500,000 to support the pilot, including project management service, evaluation, and potentially, personnel costs. The pilot is now scheduled to end on September 11, 2017.