QPD takes next step in getting body cameras

The possibility of police body cameras is getting more traction in Quincy. Members of Quincy City Council saw a demonstration Monday night on the body cameras the Quincy Police Department is currently looking at purchasing.

Mark Wood with BodyWorn gave a presentation, showing what their police body cameras look like.

"It gives the community the transparency they want," said Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley. "It gives some accountability to them of us based on what is recorded."

Even though the talk of body cameras as been ongoing for several years, Chief Copley compares it to trying to hit a moving target. He says the timing and the budget for body cameras never seemed to line up until now.

"Saying a picture is worth a thousand words, well a video is worth volumes," said Copley.

This issue has become even more important to the department after May’s officer-involved shooting on Quincy’s south side. The officer was not wearing a body camera. 

Regardless of that incident, Copley says Monday night’s demonstration was in the works well before then. But in that May shooting, had the officer been wearing a body camera, Copley says it would have cleared up a lot of questions. 

"You would be able to see exactly what happened," said Copley.

Officer Paul Hodges has been with the Quincy Police Department for about nine years and says having to wear a body camera every day would be an adjustment.

 "My real concern with going to body cameras was having to remember to turn it on because we’ve never used them before, never had them before but with this particular model a lot of the stuff is automated," said Hodges. "They turn themselves on under a lot of circumstances so it’s something we won’t have to worry about."

The department is looking at leasing around 50 body cameras. Copley says every patrol officer would wear one at all times. The cost for the body cameras would be around $280,000.

Copley hopes to bring the issue before city council next week for approval. 

Some of the features of the BodyWorn cameras include:

– Gunshot detection. When a gunshot is detected, BodyWorn begins recording and recalls two minutes of audio and video prior to the incident. 
– Just run. The camera can detect when an officer is running and start a recording.
– Wireless video offload. The body camera will offload data to a secure cloud storage as it’s recording. 
 

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