Buffalo Police Department closer to use of body cams

Posted at 6:48 PM, Dec 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 18:48:51-05

In July, 7 Eyewitness News gave you an exclusive look at the Buffalo Police body camera pilot program. In January, more than 500 Buffalo Police patrol officers will be wearing a body camera on the job at all times.

"The goal of the program is to work hard to enhance trust, and build relationships with the community," said Captain Jeff Rinaldo.

It's new technology for the force, but with everything new can be some uncertainty.

Members of the public met with the police advisory board to talk specifics and give input when it comes to drafting a body camera policy for the department.

One woman at the forum said, "they need to be on all day," another man asked what the penalty for not turning on the body camera is.

We took those questions to the Buffalo Police Department.

Captain Jeff Rinaldo says the guidelines for officers wearing the new technology is extremely strict. He says "There is little discretion on behalf of the officer not to record something."

Rinaldo says officers will be required to record any and all calls for service.

Off limits is recording inside hospitals, juveniles, and victims of sex crimes.

"If for some reason they don't record an interaction that's required, the officer needs to fill out a form as to why," he said. "If the camera malfunctions, they have to fill out a form."

Rinaldo says the footage is saved for six months on a cloud that is only accessible by BPD officials who have access. If the video captures a crime, it is kept until the criminal case is closed.

"Video is not the end all be all," Rinaldo said. "It's just one element of a criminal case."