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All Syracuse police officers now have body cameras

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Tom Magnarelli
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WRVO Public Media File Photo
A Syracuse police officer's body camera.

Body cameras have now been deployed to every uniformed officer in the Syracuse Police Department.  This is the end of a process that started almost four years ago.

Mayor Ben Walsh said when he became mayor, there were only 16 body cameras in use. So this is a big deal.

"It’s a significant milestone to have all our uniformed officers hooked up with body cameras,” Walsh said. “Now we have to make sure we continue to maintain those cameras and implementation.”

Chief Kenton Buckner said since the rollout, both the public and police officers have supported use of the cameras, and they’ve helped on a number of occasions.

"Where there may be a complaint, or when we do an investigation about exactly what occurred with an incident, these cameras provide that independent verification of incidents,” Buckner said. “They’ve helped us with some internal affairs investigations and with some criminal investigations.”

Along with the cameras, the Syracuse Police Department has updated the draft policy for use of the body worn cameras. Buckner said the big change is making clear the requirements for when officers turn on the cameras.

"All law enforcement activity will be recorded,” Buckner said. “There’s that 30-second period when the officer activates the camera that we’re able to go back and see footage from that as well.”

The department is inviting public input on that updated body-worn camera policy.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.