The Massachusetts State Police will debut their body camera pilot program on Monday, as part of a wide-scale operations reform.
Officials said that within the next two weeks, approximately 100 state troopers will be equipped with camera devices supplied from several vendors which will be evaluated over the next six months in order to provide an additional level of accountability and accuracy for troopers during their interactions with the public, increase officer safety, and enhance the ability to accurately document the actions of criminal offenders.
“Body cameras offer the potential to bring a new level of officer safety, transparency, and accurate documentation to the tens of thousands of interactions our personnel have with the public every year,” State Police Superintendent Colonel Kerry Gilpin said in a statement. “We are evaluating several different body camera platforms before selecting the best solution. My Command Staff and I are working collaboratively with the union that represents Troopers and Sergeants on this important new capability.”
The Department and the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) signed a memorandum of understanding in support of this program as part of new operational and fiscal reforms. Other reforms include installing automated vehicle locator systems in all patrol cruisers, eliminating the former Troop E with its duties of patrolling the Turnpike and Tunnel System rolled into three separate barracks, increasing oversight and capabilities including quarterly audits of the department’s top 50 earners, an increased Internal Affairs and Staff Inspections Sections staff for increased accountability, and new contracting with a major audit firm to review departmental payroll functions.
These measures came in the wake of a slew of scandals which brought federal and state charges on multiple State Police Troopers and top officials ranging from interfering with the arrest of a judge’s daughter, involvement in drug distribution and abuse of overtime payments.
Mark Lynch, President of the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM), said in a statement, “SPAM is committed to working in partnership with the Baker-Polito Administration in employing new technologies that may benefit the safety of SPAM’s members and the public that we protect. SPAM supports the administration’s body-worn camera pilot program and looks forward to examining the perceived benefits and potential improvements with the use of these technologies.”