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"I think it's so helpful to see what other agencies are going through…It saves valuable time and resources, so you don't repeat the mistakes made by other agencies…"
CHARLOTTE, NC, August 25, 2018 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Frontline police officers in Seattle had their first experience with body-worn cameras during a pilot program in 2014. And though it's been about a year since the police department equipped all officers with the new technology, Nick Zajchowski admits there is still much to learn about how to use the new technology.
"We are learning as we go," says Zajchowski, the strategic advisor and body-worn video program manager for the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and a featured speaker at the upcoming Second Annual National Body-Worn Camera Fall Forum on Sept. 17-18 in Dallas. "Agencies that have body cameras are still trying to figure out how best to use them and how to integrate them within the operations of their departments."
The fall forum will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn from other agencies who have implemented programs to find out what worked and what they'd do differently. "I think it's so helpful to see what other agencies are going through…It saves valuable time and resources, so you don't repeat the mistakes made by other agencies," he says.
Overall, Zajchowski says, the body-worn camera program has been positive for SPD officers and the community. Some officers aren't happy that their work is being recorded, he says, but most see it as a valuable tool to help them investigate crimes and with their everyday police work. "It can help tell their side of the story," he says. And the community benefits because the cameras can capture controversial incidents and provide the full picture of what happened.
Rudy Hall, a sergeant with the New York Police Department's Risk Management Bureau, says 8,000 of the city's officers now have cameras, and he expects that number to grow to 15,000 by the end of the year. He has seen the benefits of the program ever since the city launched a pilot in December 2014. Supervisors have used the videos to help identify additional training needs for their officers. And for frontline officers, the cameras have helped to resolve false allegations of police misconduct, he says.
"It gives police officers the ability to tell their story from beginning to end," says Hall, who also will speak at the fall forum about how to evaluate your existing body-worn camera program.
But, he agrees with Zajchowski that agencies still need to figure out what to do with all the data being collected and how to maximize the benefits of the technology. That's why conferences like the upcoming Body-Worn Camera Fall Forum are so important, Hall says.
The Second Annual National Body-Worn Camera Fall Forum will take place Sept. 17-18 in Dallas. For more information or to register, click here.
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