NOPD officers to start wearing body cameras in next few weeks

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 2 at 5:21 PM

Dennis Woltering / Eyewitness News
Email: dwoltering@wwltv.com | Twitter: @dwoltering

NEW ORLEANS -- New technology is coming to the NOPD. Within three weeks, 420 of its officers will be wearing body cameras when they have any kind of business with the public.

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said the cameras will bring a new level of transparency.

“We think it is the future of American policing,” Serpas said.

Serpas said this was the third day of training for officers learning how to use the body cameras they will soon wear for every business interaction with the public.

That includes traffic stops, felony stops, writing police reports and even giving directions and answering questions.

“There will no longer be, when a body camera is activated, he said, she said,” Serpas said. “It's an unbiased, unvarnished record of exactly what happened.”

Serpas said the officers in the field operations bureau, including K-9, mounted, traffic units and tactical, will be among those wearing the 420 body cameras.

He said the cameras will provide unprecedented transparency and accountability.

“It will help us explain to people the actions that officers took and sometimes it will help us if we had to make a determination to dismiss an officer," Serpas said. “It’s always recording but not right into the memory. The last 30 seconds of the video only.”

At the end of the shift, the officer will plug his or her camera into a transfer unit to store the data.

“All the video images are then transferred in the most secure evidence protected way in the nation. And it's stored in the cloud. When we need it we can go access it," Serpas said.

The city's deal with TASER International includes replacement of any broken cameras, plus replacement of the entire fleet of cameras with the latest technology in the third and fifth years.

The cost is $1.45 million. The city is paying installments of $290,000 a year.

“That covers all of the evidence storage which is a very large component of the contract obviously,” Serpas said.

 

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