Chief of Police Rich Bialkowski announces that the Cobleskill Police Department is currently using body-worn cameras in its daily operations and interactions with the public.
“We saw the need, and the benefit, of having officers equipped with body-worn cameras in early 2014. Prior to the widely-publicized events that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City last year, we began exploring camera options and funding sources. We were able to obtain several body-worn cameras and began testing them over the summer on a limited basis in different scenarios and under various circumstances. Once we tested them, we were convinced that they would be a great benefit to the department,” said Chief Bialkowski.
Once the evaluation and testing period was completed, the department then obtained enough body-worn cameras to equip every patrol officer and patrol supervisor, as well as our investigator. In November 2014, all officers received training in the use of the body-worn cameras and they were put into full service. Currently, most of an officer’s daily interactions with the public are recorded, including arrests, investigations, accidents, searches, and traffic stops to name a few. The body-worn cameras are a supplement to the department’s in-car mobile recording systems, which officers will also continue to use.
The body-worn cameras are capable of taking audio and video recordings, as well as still images. They can record in light or dark situations. The body-worn cameras were obtained at no cost to the Village by use of STOP DWI funds as well as drug seizure funds.
The reasons for the use of the body-worn cameras are simple. They offer increased evidence collection and documentation capabilities during arrests, searches, incidents, and investigations. They offer transparency and accountability on department operations and officer interactions with the public. They safeguard the department and its officers against false complaints of misconduct. They may also be used as an aid to evaluate officers’ actions when complaints do arise, and they will also be used as a training tool.
“As a department, the use of technology to aid in our mission of delivering professional law enforcement services in a cost-effective manner is something that we will continue to explore and utilize to the best of our ability in order to most benefit our community. My hope is that using the body-worn cameras will assist in enhancing public trust and confidence in what we do,” said Chief Bialkowski.