The NYPD announced today that NYC officers will soon be wearing body-worn cameras (BWC) as part of a pilot program. This comes after years of preparation in the NYPD, including a pre-pilot program, negotiations with officer unions, and outreach to NYPD officers and the public. The NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management assisted the NYPD in understanding officer opinions about BWCs. Marron did this work in conjunction with the NYU Law School’s Policing Project, which helped the NYPD understand the public's opinions about BWCs. (Click here for more details on the Policing Project's work, inluding their report.)
“The NYPD has worked incredibly hard to build meaningful relationships between New York City’s communities and the officers who protect them,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “Not only will body-worn cameras enhance transparency and accountability, they will further improve the trust that continues to grow between New Yorkers and the police who protect them. I am grateful to the skilled team at New York University that compiled feedback from tens of thousands of members of the public and our own police officers about body cameras and our proposed policy. The survey and thousands of responses was invaluable in our process."
The Marron Institute and the Policing Project worked with NYPD officials, officers, community members and government stakeholders to develop questionnaires that would allow officers and the public to have their voices heard on body-worn camera policy and implementation. The questionnaire was open to all NYPD officers from June 29, 2016 to August 7, 2016, and 5,419 completed the questionnarie. A draft of the NYPD's body camera operations order was also made availble to officers and the public.
The questions covered officers’ views of themselves and their relationship with the communities they serve, their personal interest in wearing a BWC, their expectations about the possible effects of BWCs, and their opinions about particular aspects of BWC policy and implementation. As part of the NYPD's announcement, the department responded to policy issues raised in the two reports, such as camera placement, when officers should activate cameras and notify the public that they are recording, and who should have access to the recordings.
The Marron Institute's report was written with support from the New York City Police Foundation.