BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James came bearing three checks on Friday for the Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Amherst Police Departments to provide them with body cameras.
She said the body cameras are already in use and these funds are reimbursements to the departments.
"They are critical tools for providing accountability, transparency and protecting public safety," she said.
Buffalo Police received $150,000 for 300 body cameras, Amherst Police received $37,240 for 49 cameras, and Niagara Falls Police received $51,759 for 93 body cameras and eight docking stations.
Attorney General James said one of these cameras can cost up to one thousand dollars. But they increase transparency and provide evidence in investigations.
"They also give the community confidence that our officers are indeed acting in accordance with our regulations," said City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said funds from the Attorney General are critical for the police department, as they plan to provide officers with 550 body cameras.
The Attorney General said there are certain situations where the cameras will need to be de-activated. Those are cases of sexual assault and domestic violence.
The funds for the body cameras were provided by the Capture an Account of a Material Situation (CAMS) program. The program is funded with money recovered from organized crime takedowns carried out by the Attorney General's Office.
Mayor Brown said all patrol and traffic officers along with officers on the SWAT team are expected to be trained and equipped with body cams by the end of the year.
In addition to the Buffalo, Amherst and Niagara Falls Police Departments, funds have been or will be provided to:
- Albany County Sheriff's Office
- Monroe County Sheriff's Office
- Rochester Police Department
- Suffolk County Police Department
- Suffolk County Sheriff's Office
- Syracuse Police Department
- Troy Police Department
- Utica Police Department