As reported in NJ.com, the Camden County Police Department has been testing body cameras for its officers for the past year, according to officials, with the chief hoping to acquire up to 100 cameras “as quickly as possible.” According to Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen, the police department has tested cameras from three companies so far, including Taser International, whose recording devices are currently used by officers in Evesham Township. The CCPD is expected to test cameras from a fourth company soon.
“We are working with State and the federal government for grant money, since it would be a significant cost to implement the cameras,” said Keashen. He later added, “In the coming years, body cameras are something that every officer around the country will have, just like bulletproof vests and handcuffs.”
The Camden County police already boast a $4.5 million network of rotating cameras, gunshot-sensitive microphones and surveillance towers throughout the city. Chief Scott Thomson has long been a proponent of body cameras, stating they could help protect both residents and officers. However, speaking on Friday, he cautioned against viewing the budding technology as a cure-all for police-community relations. “Officers wearing cameras is the future of policing as it better safeguards both the public and the officer’s safety,” said Thomson. “However, we must manage expectations and realize that cameras are not the silver bullet that will instantly fix our current challenges. They are a step in the right direction, but much more still needs to occur for police to regain the trust that’s been lost due to recent events.”
While the Chief gave no timeline or expected cost for the implementation of the body cameras in Camden, he stated the Department hopes to begin using them department-wide as soon as possible. “Cameras and their data storage are a significant investment of tax dollars, so we have been researching, testing, and evaluating different companies for the best product that is compatible with our existing IT infrastructure,” he said. “We also want the most current technologies that deliver superior clarity and enhanced accountability such as GPS markings and remote activation.”