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Police body cameras: More coming to WNY

Posted at 3:44 PM, Dec 19, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-14 15:37:54-05

The national debate about police violence has resulted in many calling for increased use of body cameras on police officers.

In Western New York, the NFTA Transit Police are already using the cameras as part of a voluntary program that started 18-months ago. About one-third of the force now uses the cameras on a regular basis.

NFTA Police Chief George Gast said not only has the body camera video been used to defend against false accusations of wrongdoing, but officers are finding it a great tool to compile accurate police reports.

The City of Niagara Falls is now looking to become the next to equip its police department with body cameras.

On Monday, the Niagara Falls City Council will be asked to approve $22,500 of casino revenue for the purchase of 48 body cameras.

Superintendent of Police Bryan DalPorto said his department is looking to purchase camera that function as police radios, have night vision, can record up to seven hours of high-definition audio/video, and have the ability to identify the officer who recorded it.

Officers are responsible for turning the cameras on and off, but according to DalPorto, the video cannot be erased and has to be downloaded at police headquarters.

If the Niagara Falls City Council approves the purchase, the cameras could be on officers, and operating on city streets, by the beginning of 2015.