SOUTH JAMAICA, Queens – Local residents during a town hall forum Tuesday night gave their input on how the NYPD should craft its body camera policy, including the pressing question of when the it should be turned on.
The NYPD's proposed policy appears to be expansive: During a stop, police are supposed to record.
Residents from the community knows the policy needs some fine-tuning, as in when should they turn on the camera – during an approach or as soon as they step out of a police vehicle? The NYPD is using these types of questions to find answers and a better policy.
Body cameras are front and center in the ongoing debate about a police officer's use of force. In fact, if police body cameras had not mysteriously turned off during the fatal encounter with Donald Sterling in Baton Rouge – there would be a valuable point-of-view video perspective.
"Because right now the ownership of when to record is in the hands of the officer," one resident said
Residents were interested in the nuts and bolts of the NYPD's plan trial deployment of 1,000 body cameras.
"I don't think there should be any language limited to type of engagement with the public," councilman Ruben Wills said. "I think it should run at all times. And I'm quite informed about the cost for data stored."
A city lawyer, local NYPD precinct members and a council member were fielding questions from concerned citizens, especially on the topic of when camera activation and when exactly should they be turned on.
The short answer: several scenarios, including any encounter that leads to a search.
"Courts have mandated in situations like a search to have the camera on," one NYPD member on hand said.
The town hall is the leading edge of the NYPD's outreach effort while it finalizes its body camera policy.
The Department even has a website – http://www.NYPDbodycameras.org – where you can fill out an anonymous survey and add your own comments.
The NYPD is also working with NYU Law School to analyze and collect all those comments. So far, they're up to 25,000.