City to Launch Body Camera Pilot Program with BPD this Summer

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans announced Tuesday an agreement with the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) to allow the City of Boston and Boston Police Department to launch a six-month Body Worn Camera Pilot Program.

Under the agreement, up to 100 volunteer patrol officers will be equipped with body cameras for a six month period in which on-duty police activity will be documented.

“In Boston, we are fortunate to have strong relationships with our communities and I’m confident that body cameras will serve as another tool for the Boston Police Department to continue their work in the neighborhoods,” Mayor Walsh said. “I look forward to working with the Boston Police Department as they learn best practices through this pilot program and I thank Commissioner Evans and BPPA for their cooperation on reaching this agreement.”

The agreement was created by viewing best practices in other municipalities across the country with input from police departments and officers, the BPD Social Justice Task Force, the Harvard Law Criminal Justice Program and through community feedback.

“This is a positive development that brings the Boston Police Department even closer to implementing this important pilot program in the city,” Commissioner Evans said. “We are committed to building on the trust we have earned with our constituents while keeping our community safe.”

“The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association is pleased to have reached agreement with the City of Boston to implement a pilot program for Boston Patrol Officers to wear and use body cameras,” BPPA President Patrick M. Rose said. “The BPPA believes that a pilot program will enable the Department and the Union to evaluate whether body cameras contribute to officer safety, provide useful evidence for criminal prosecutions and help to foster positive relations with the citizens of and visitors to the City of Boston. The BPPA also believes that this pilot program will showcase, to all of the citizens of Boston, the fine work that our members do on a day to day basis.”

The Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget provided $500,000 to support the pilot, including project management service, evaluation, and potentially, personnel costs. Once the pilot period concludes, an evaluation will be completed on the program’s effectiveness to determine next steps on a potential permanent program in Boston. Any remaining funds would be available for any implementation after the pilot has concluded.

Start date of the pilot program, along with other specific policies related to body cameras, are in the process of being finalized by BPD.

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