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NYS troopers begin phasing in body cameras

New York State Police
A screenshot from a New York State Police video shows an officer turning on his body camera.

Some New York state troopers will begin wearing body cameras on patrol, phasing in their use years after cameras were adopted by many other state and local law enforcement agencies.

Body-worn cameras will be introduced to Troop G in the Albany area this month and be expanded on a rolling basis, with statewide deployment expected by the end of the year. The rollout of 3,000 cameras at a cost of $7.6 million a year is the result of a law signed in June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

"Too often injustices go unseen and police officers feel emboldened to act as judge and jury. Body cameras will diminish the trust deficit between the police and the communities they serve," said state Sen. Kevin Parker, a Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the bill.

A nationwide Associated Press survey in 2019 found that New York State Police were the largest primary state law enforcement agency not equipped with body or dashboard cameras at that time. The cameras also are used widely by local police agencies.

Troopers will be required to record video in a number of situations, including when they exit a patrol vehicle to interact with a person, all uses of force and arrests, all searches of people and property and interactions with emotionally disturbed people.

The cameras will automatically start recording whenever a patrol vehicle's emergency lighting is activated and anytime troopers unholster their firearms or stun guns.

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