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Greenfield police looking to add cruiser cameras

  • Cameras for Greenfield Police cruisers may become a reality this year. But it’s unclear whether the department will add body cameras. Recorder File Photo

  • Recorder/Paul FranzGreenfield police chief Robert Haigh Jr. PAUL FRANZ



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

GREENFIELD — Police cruiser cameras could be coming to the city, but that doesn’t mean body cameras will.

Police Chief Robert Haigh is hoping to add cameras to police cruisers and inside the station this year to increase accountability and safety of officers. Haigh asked for $120,000 from the city’s capital budget for the cameras.

It hasn’t been decided whether the addition of cruiser cameras will lead to body cameras being used by the department, according to Deputy Chief Mark Williams.

The cameras would be installed in 10 marked cruisers, Haigh said, and inside the booking and interview rooms at the police station. According to Williams, there will also be upgrades to existing cameras inside the station.

Haigh said the cameras will capture both video and audio. In the vehicles, the cameras will begin recording seconds before emergency lights are turned on and will continue until seconds after the lights are turned off.

Haigh said the camera footage will be stored on a police server at the department. The system might also be able to stream live video to dispatchers.

“I think they’ve proven to reduce complaints from citizens. I think it’s a way to be a little bit more open and transparent,” Haigh said.

According to Williams, adding cruiser cameras may make it easier for the department to add body cameras, but those devices are not being looked at by the department at this time.

Williams said state guidelines on body cameras are still not fully defined. Until the state clarifies regulations on body cameras, the department isn’t expected to use the recording devices, Williams said.

Haigh said if the cameras are OK’d in the budget, then the department will work on additional policies and procedures regarding their use, including notifying people about the presence of cameras and dispatchers monitoring live footage.

There are additional costs expected if the cameras are installed for maintenance and observation of the video after it is uploaded. Haigh said he did not know how much the cost would be, but said it could be “very expensive.”

Haigh said he is uncertain when the cameras would be installed and operational but will know more after a meeting with WatchGuard, the company he said manufactures the cameras, in the first week of June.

You can reach
Dan Desrochers at:

ddesrochers@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257