It’s not a question of if New Paltz police officers are going to start wearing body cameras, it’s a question of how to manage the costs once they start, which could be as soon as the spring. New Paltz Police Chief Joseph Snyder told members of the Police Commission last week that right now there’s a test ongoing of a camera which integrates with the ones used in the patrol cars.
Robert Lucchesi, the department’s lieutenant, explained that 12 cameras would be needed to outfit officers on a shift while recharging others. While these could be purchased with seized assets, replacing them in about five years would have to be budgeted in the normal way. Storage of the video footage is another cost factor, one which rises quickly if the cameras are left running for the entire shift. To do otherwise would require a clear policy as to when they needed to be turned on, and as Snyder pointed out, could lead to questions about whether a lack of recording of an incident is intentional or an oversight.
Despite challenges, “we are committed to going forward,” Snyder said.