Springfield Police one step closer to outfitting officers with body cameras

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Police are one step closer to outfitting their officers with body cameras, which is driving the city council’s possible moratorium on facial recognition technology.

Springfield Police Spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News the department has selected Getac Video Solutions as the vendor for the body-worn camera system.

However, the body worn cameras do not have facial recognition technology. The police department is not planning on using facial recognition technology in any capacity. 

Some members of the city council are afraid the technology isn’t developed enough to be used. They say the technology has misidentified women and people of color.

The city council plans to introduce a moratorium which would ban facial recognition technology for the time being. Previously they wanted to introduce a total ban, something Mayor Sarno said he would veto if passed.

When asked if the moratorium would change his mind, Mayor Sarno issued a statement that said, “This has been an initiative that my administration has pushed for a number of years. I am grateful under the leadership of Commissioner Clapprood that this vitally important public safety program is now going to be implemented. This will only continue to enhance and build mutual respect and trust with our entire Springfield community and police department.”

Springfield Police Spokesman Ryan Walsh told 22News The total cost for the first five years of the body worn camera program is roughly $2.5-million to $3-million.

According to Walsh, the cameras will be triggered automatically by the use of emergency lights on a cruisier via Bluetooth technology or manually by an officer. When the record feature is activated, the previous 30 seconds will be preserved with video (no audio) and then the audio will begin at the initial activation of the recording.

A $1.1-million grant from the Justice Department will cover some of the costs. The department hopes to introduce the program by the end of the year.

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