Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $140,000)
The Syracuse Police Department (SPD) is applying for additional funding from the US Department of Justice to expand its Body Worn Camera (BWC) Program. While all of their Patrol Officers have been outfitted with BWCs since 2018, this expansion would allow the SPD to purchase 28 additional BWCs to train and deploy to 5 members of their SWAT Team and 23 to Detectives in their Criminal Investigation Division, none of which currently have cameras.
Like many cities across the U.S., the SPD faces a challenge in improving the level of public trust and legitimacy of police officers. There are many ways this challenge can be mitigated for both the police and the public, including greater transparency, improvements in citizen perceptions, enhanced officer and citizen safety, reductions in costly lawsuits, use as an evidentiary tool in prosecutions, increased officer efficiency, and strengthening training and supervision. In addition to the compelling positive effect BWCs have in improving the quality of policing in the community, there is also an expectation of long term positive economic impact for the City by lowering the high crime rate and thus attracting new businesses and residents.
Since implementing BWCs in 2017, the Syracuse Police Department has realized the critical importance of having multiple BWCs at any incident scene. Multiple BWCs provide a more detailed and accurate video record of how each incident unfolded. Having multiple BWCs provide different angles and views of the incident which show each individual officer’s perspective of what he/she saw and heard at the time of the incident. Although BWCs are considered tools for law enforcement agencies, they will also further strengthen the criminal justice system.
The City administration and the SPD are committed to integrating BWC’s for all officers and will continue to partner with the District Attorney’s office to improve criminal justice outcomes along with officer and citizen safety. Also, as BWC technology best practices are evolving, they will continue to examine whether their policies and protocols take into account new technologies, ensuring they are in compliance with new laws, and reflect the most up-to-date research.
The total request for federal funding under this application is $140,000.