Starting in January, Buffalo's police officers will begin wearing body cameras, all 550 of them. This police stemming from the recent Taser Pilot Project that ended on Sept. 1, where Buffalo Police Department (BPD) originally tried the concept.
BPD and the community advisory board formed by the Common Council's Police Oversight Committee met Tuesday to discuss policy changes concerning body cameras.
“The shooting that Rafael "Pito" Rivera but a Buffalo Police Officer has highlighted the importance of video footage as a means to get to the bottom of events and ensure that justice will be done," De'Jon Hall of the advisory board said.
The advisory board spoke on behalf of the public highlighting a few reasons why the cameras were needed, including unsolved serious crimes, police abuse of power and racism against minorities. The program's equipment alone will cost around $1 million and there will be a $1-1.5 million recurring cost. BPD officers will be required to attend an eight hour training session.
“People complain that the officer was rude or the officer insulted them, it our goal with the body cam project to put an end to that," Capt. Jeff Rinaldo of the BPD said.
Concerns also rose about the body cameras, specifically officers' discretion of use, public access to video and video storage. The two parties are expected to meet again in October to make final decisions on the policy; it will be completed by the end of the year.