LPD body cameras expected to arrive soon

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Representatives from the Lockport Police Department expect to receive new body cameras city officers by the end of the month.

Once the body cameras are delivered, Acting Chief Douglas Haak said all officers will be required to have them activated at all times when they are on duty. 

Former Interim Police Chief Steven Preisch developed a policy in the wake of Troy Hodge's death after several residents expressed concern over the body cameras not being on during the incident. Preisch said he needed new body cameras that could sustain being used for a full shift, as well as he needed more storage to maintain an influx of more video. 

Haak said officers will individually be assigned a body camera and it will be their responsibility to maintain them. 

"From an administrative and from a supervisory standpoint,  now you have some teeth to the policy," Haak said.

 

Haak said the cameras should arrive by the end of October and he expects them to be operational by the second week of November.  

Last week, the Common Council approved a resolution to spend $53,320 on 40 new body cameras and related equipment from Axon Enterprise, Inc. 

The new cameras can be configured to automatically begin recording after an officer activates their lights, opens their car door or draws their firearm or Taser (also an Axon product), according to the company. 

The council agreed to draw $33,320 from contingency and cover the rest with revenue from the auction of a truck "seized through drug enforcement action," the resolution says. The city will have to spend $23,580 annually to cover data storage and related software and hardware.

Earlier this year, several residents criticized the police department for failing to record the fatal encounter with Hodge, 39. The New York State Attorney General's office is investigating Hodge's death, and has yet to release Hodge's cause of death or publicly determine whether he was armed in the encounter.

Two of the four Lockport Police Department officers who responded to reports of Hodge's erratic behavior were not wearing body cameras, according to Preisch. The other two were wearing cameras, but Preisch said one was turned off and the other fell off during the interaction with Hodge.

 

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