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Politics and Government

Syracuse Common Council authorizes how money for police body camera program would be spent

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Tom Magnarelli
/
WRVO News
Councilor Steven Thompson (right), a former Syracuse police chief, at a recent Common Council meeting.

The Syracuse Common Council has authorized what the Syracuse Police Department would purchase if the city wins a U.S. Department of Justice grant for police body cameras.

The pilot program would include 10 body cameras, docking stations, a server and ballistic shields. They are asking for funds totaling more than $100,000, which the city would split evenly with Onondaga County. The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office would purchase their own equipment from their portion.

Councilor Steven Thompson maintained that complaints against the police will decrease with the use of body cameras. Thompson weighed in on whether body cameras would have made a difference in the Father’s Day shooting in Syracuse, during which a man was shot and killed and an officer fired her gun.

“I think it would have answered a lot of questions immediately, I don’t know if it would have changed the mindset of some of the people involved,” Thompson said.

Hundreds of people were in attendance at the cookout where the shooting occurred. Some in the African American community were initially critical of how police handled the situation. Surveillance video captured some but not all of what happened. The incident is still under investigation.

Thompson said he hopes all Syracuse police officers responding to initial calls will one day be equipped with body cameras. City officials expect to know by the end of September if they will receive the funding.