SEPTA arming transit cops with secret body cameras

SEPTA is arming its police force with more equipment to catch more criminals.

“Another tool for cheese sandwich delivery,” said SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel.

Nestel, who attaches the hashtag #cheesesandwich (which represents the meal given to detainees in the department’s lockup) to many of his @TNestel3 Tweets, announced Tuesday that his officer’s are testing new surveillance cameras.

The cameras, which capture both audio and video, are built into the officer’s radio microphone, which is clipped to the officer’s chest.

“That’s nice for the cops because we already have enough crap on our belts,” he said. “The Batman-like utility belt only has so much room and integrating (cameras) into police equipment we already have is nice.

There are a lot of cameras positioned within SEPTA stations as well as its trains and vehicles, “But none of them have sound,” Nestel said. “Often what we find is on the platforms we’re taking a 40-foot view of what occurs. This is a view 2-feet from the person you’re talking with.”

SEPTA Transit Police are testing the devices for 60 days. These special radio’s are going into effect this week and will be outfitted on three patrol officers.

If SEPTA decides to purchase the cameras — for which it would seek grant funding — not all of its 275 officers will be armed with the special radios. Only about 200 officers on patrol would receive the device.

“We’re experimenting,” Nestel said. “We’re seeing if it’s conducive for our environment and if it’s beneficial for transit policing in general.”

Nestel hopes the cameras will:

  • Reduce the number of “Use of force” incidents
  • Reduce the number of complaints
  • Help investigate complaints

“And reduce court overtime because we’ll have video of the incident and an officer won’t be necessary for court,” Nestel said. “And we’re hoping it will increase the number of guilty pleas.”

Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan


Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…


Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…


Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…


China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…


Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…


What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…


Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…