WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Officers in the 34th Precinct will be the first in the city to wear body cameras under the NYPD's new program, officials said.
Cameras will begin being distributed to officers who work out of the precinct "some time in April 2017," Detective Haydee Pabey told DNAinfo, after the announcement was first made during a precinct council meeting Wednesday night.
Adding body cameras — which are designed to record interactions during arrests and other situations as a way to provide an objective record of what happened — was agreed upon during contract negotiations between the city and the NYPD earlier this year.
The Public Safety Committee for uptown's Community Board 12 unanimously passed a resolution in January in support of the body cameras program, stating the NYPD should conduct intensive outreach to the community, provide footage of the body camera footage 24 to 48 hours after a serious injury or death of a civilian, and that footage of body cameras be used for “training and retraining purposes throughout the NYPD.”
But critics have said that the particular manufacturer who the city contracted to provide the cameras — VieVu — has been dropped by several other police departments across the nation as a result of problems with functionality.
This isn’t the first time the precinct — which covers Washington Heights and Inwood north of 179th Street — has been selected to pilot a program for the NYPD.
Back in 2015, the 34th Precinct was one of the four precincts to launch the community policing project or Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program, which allows officers to respond less to 911 calls and focus more on building relationships with the community.