Capitol Notes

Potential delays with state police’s body camera pilot program

The deployment of body cameras for State Police troopers as part of a new pilot program is still months away.

Speaking on The Capitol Pressroom this week, Thomas Mungeer, head of the union representing the troopers, said the pilot program was initially expected to begin at the end of 2020 or early 2021, but he now expects it will take longer to get started.

A spokesman for the State Police confirmed this possibility, saying, “Our goal was to initiate the pilot program before the end of year, but it’s possible that could now be delayed.”

“We are in the initial phases of the planning process for the pilot program. We have received vendor responses to our Solicitation of Interest and those are being reviewed. Before we can work on funding, we need to select a vendor, design the program and put together a budget,” said State Police spokesman Beau Duffy.

Money was not specifically appropriated in this year’s state budget for implementing the program, so any spending on body cameras and storage system – if made during this fiscal year – would need to come from discretionary money already allocated to the state police. With New York potentially facing a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, though, it’s possible the state police won’t  have the flexibility this year to make the purchases for the program.

“It boils down to money at this point and time,” said Mungeer.

He added that his union isn’t opposed to the pilot program, but doesn’t want it to be funded at the expense of existing needs, such as replacing vehicles.

Plans for a pilot program were confirmed in February, but the announcement didn’t come with details about the scope and cost of the roll out. The lack of body cameras on State Police troopers makes them stand out from most of their peers in other states and at big city departments.

 

The Capitol Pressroom · May 4, 2020: State police adapt to the demands of a COVID-19 world
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