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De Blasio Administration, NYPD Announce All Officers on Patrol to Wear Body Cameras by End of 2018, One Year Earlier Than Expected

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson recently announced the New York City Police Department will speed up its timeline to outfit all police officers and detectives on patrol with body worn cameras by the end of 2018, one year earlier than previously planned. The Administration and the Department initially projected that all officers on patrol would receive body cameras by the end of 2019.

“Body cameras have helped guide a new day in policing, bolstering transparency and increasing accountability. Now we’re accelerating their expansion,” said Mayor de Blasio. “By ensuring all patrol officers are outfitted with these essential, modern policing tools a year faster than originally planned, we’re helping to make New York City fairer faster, and growing trust between police and communities.”

“Through the hard work of our technical and support staff, along with the valuable feedback from those commands that have already been equipped with body cameras, we are now able to move forward at a faster pace in expanding the program,” said Police Commissioner O’Neill. “We are on track to have all precinct, transit and housing commands citywide up-and-running with body cameras by the end of this year.”

“Body cameras are essential to modern policing both to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and to solidify relations between the NYPD and the communities that they serve. This is an important step that will keep our City’s police force on the cutting edge as we work to make our City fairer and safer. The Council has worked to increase transparency these past few years to strengthen our police force. With increased accountability and additional resources, we will continue to work together in maintain our City’s record low crime rate. As Speaker of the City Council, I am proud to be a partner with the Mayor and the Commissioner in doing everything in our power to ensure the City of New York continues to be the safest big city in the world,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

The de Blasio Administration’s Preliminary Budget includes $5.9 million in Fiscal Year 2018, $12 million in Fiscal Year 2019 and $9.5 million in Fiscal Year 2020 in funding for the accelerated rollout. The resources will cover the cost of purchasing body worn cameras, associated information technology upgrades, and the build out of the space for the Body Worn Camera Units in the Risk Management, Information Technology and Legal Bureaus.

As of January 26th, 2018 the NYPD has deployed 2,470 body cameras. Starting this January, the NYPD plans to issue approximately 800 cameras each month, increasing to 1,000 to 2,000 per month beginning in March. By the end of 2018, the NYPD plans to have deployed a total of 18,000 body cameras. Only police officers and detective specialists on patrol will be outfitted with a body camera.

In addition to the body cameras themselves, NYPD requires IT infrastructure upgrades in the facilities to ensure a smooth rollout. The work will enable the charging of body cameras in police facilities and additional internet bandwidth to accommodate faster video footage uploads.

“Speeding up the timeline for body cameras on all patrol officers is a big step towards improving police-community relations across the City,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “Thankfully, we are not waiting until 2019 to fulfill this necessary rollout, because our communities need more transparency and accountability now. This decision will help accelerate our ability to shine a light on abuse and false claims of misconduct. I’d like to commend Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner O’Neill for their commitment to improving policing and growing a better relationship with all New York City neighborhoods.”

“Today’s announcement upholds the administration’s commitment to outfit all officers with body cameras. It’s clear and encouraging that both the administration and NYPD value the program’s resulting transparency, which will benefit the city and its residents,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee.

“We have made important strides as a city in reducing violent crime, especially gun-related deaths. These reductions would not be possible without the NYPD’s strong commitment to improving police-community relations. As the nation grapples with the loss of innocent black and brown lives at the hands of police officers, I am pleased the NYPD has accelerated its commitment to equipping all NYPD officers with body cameras. These cameras will be an important step in increasing police accountability and transparency, so we can have faith that our police officers are doing their very best to protect all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy.

“Body cameras are neutral observers that protect the police and the public alike. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill for moving the body camera implementation deadline forward and ensuring that all of our patrol officers will be outfitted with this necessary technology by the end of the year. Accountability and police/community relations remain among our top priorities as a City and this announcement makes clear that we are continuing to move forward in the best direction for all,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

“Throughout the de Blasio administration we have seen an increase in trust between communities and the police. This accelerated timeline to outfit all police officers with body cameras will strengthen that trust and enhance transparency, truly a win-win for New Yorkers and the NYPD,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen. “I applaud the Mayor and Commissioner O’Neill for expanding this program and look forward to continue working with them to make our city even safer.”

“Body cameras are a tool for meaningful reform and are critical for both civilians and officers engaged in encounters,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “While the body camera policy leaves room for improvement, the expedited increase in cameras is a step in the right direction. Thank you Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill for your diligence in expanding this program.”

“While, I commend Mayor de Blasio on this acceleration of body cameras, I hope this mitigates the concerns that alienates community from police. The acceleration of body cameras for all NYPD patrol officers and detectives is a good step and I look forward to seeing it improve community-police relations,” said Council Member Bill Perkins.

"I am pleased that the mayor is increasing efforts to ensure that every police officer will be equipped with a body camera at the end of this year. Our communities, in the wake of questionable police shootings are looking for accountability and to trust that the officers will do their job. This is a major step in building a better bond between our communities and police officers who are expected to show courtesy, professionalism and respect,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel.

"Accelerating the timeline for equipping our officers with body-worn cameras will serve to build on the accomplishments already achieved by the Administration, NYPD and community and faith based organizations to promote transparency and accountability in local law enforcement, and better relations between police and community," said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. "I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner O'Neill for their efforts to make this vital tool available in every neighborhood that much sooner, especially those served by the dedicated officers of the 103rd, 105th and 113th Precincts."

“I wish I had a body camera when I was a police officer. Transparency in policing highlights the overwhelmingly positive and powerful work that cops do in our communities, while providing critical evidence in the pursuit of justice for those select cases in which an encounter goes wrong. For decades, I have joined many of my brothers and sisters in NYPD blue in fighting for tools like body cameras — and sometimes we have faced serious criticism because of this call. The significant majority of incidences in which body cameras are involved wind up exonerating police officers from complaints. Today, in this new and much-welcomed era of community policing, we have partners in Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill who get it. The results are vindicating our years of advocacy, and I’m pleased we’re rolling out our body camera program on an expedited timeline. Let’s continue to be forward-thinking in law enforcement, and let’s continue to lean into the power of change,” saidBrooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “I welcome this announcement that New York City will meet the goal of all patrol officers wearing body cameras a year ahead of schedule. Twenty-first century policing requires that we take advantage of tools that will help build community trust and improve police-community relations; body cameras are one such tool. By equipping our officers with the tools they need, through demonstrating a commitment to transparency and accountability, and in adopting policies that strengthen the confidence of all our communities in our police, New York can continue to take steps in the right direction.”

“Body cameras can help build better understanding between police officers and the public through communication and honest dialogue. I welcome the use of body cameras to improve community relations and police record keeping,” said Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for expediting the rollout of body cameras for NYPD patrol officers, this level of transparency will help our officers and communities get a better picture of events as they unfold. Technology such as body cameras have been shown to be helpful tools in restoring the trust that is so necessary for our communities and the officers that help to keep them safe." saidAssemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

“By expanding the use of body cameras to equip all police officers, we make another significant step towards a fairer and safer New York,” saidAssemblyman David Weprin, Chairman of the Assembly Corrections Committee. “I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill for their commitment to protecting and serving both the public and police officers by bringing transparency to encounters with law.”

"Body cameras on police officers are a major benefit to both the officers and alleged victims of police abuse. Among other pluses, body cams also help decrease complaints against police officers; provide a victim's statements at the time of occurrence, especially in domestic violence cases where the victims often later change their testimony; and help supervisors detect patterns of behavior in officers. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O'Neill for pushing up the deadline for expansion of this worthy program. It will go far to bring about more trust between police and the community,"saidAssemblyman Luis Sepulveda.

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker said, “Bringing a 12 million dollar investment to the NYPD body camera program is just the start of a positive relationship between law enforcement and civilians. Body cameras will protect officers from false allegations as well as hold them accountable and force them to do policing the correct way. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for pushing the NYPD body camera program which is helping make New York City a safer city for everyone.”

"Body cameras can advance the safety and accountability of law enforcement officers, as well promote trust in the communities they serve if they are implemented thoughtfully," said Assemblymember Dan Quart. "Accelerating the expansion of this program is great news for our city and I applaud all involved. It is important that with this expansion, we continue the dialogue of how best to balance public transparency and individual privacy. I look forward to working with the NYPD, my colleagues in government and advocates to find solutions that will best serve the public and make our justice system more fair."

"I commend Mayor de Blasio, and NYPD Commissioner O’Neill on working expeditiously to ensure all Patrol Officers will be fitted with Body Cameras by the end of 2018. Through the allocation of $12M in the preliminary budget, this administration has put word to action, as they seek to accelerate the NYPD Bodycam roll out one year earlier. The implementation of these body cameras will improve transparency, ensure accountability, and provide our officers and citizens alike with state of the art technology to ensure accountability and safety for all," saidAssemblyman Walter Mosley.