A pilot program applauded by police reform advocates is getting a big boost: The NYPD is looking to add as many as more 5,000 body cameras to the 60 aleady in use.
It's a significant increase and a major step in Mayor Bill de Blasio's and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton's efforts to restore the trust between cops and some members of the community.
Capital New York's Sally Goldenberg broke the story Monday morning and reports that the city has put a bid solicitation for the devices in the City Record.
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There are now 60 cameras in use across the city. The body camera program started last December, the result of a court order.
That first bunch was paid for with a $50,000Police Foundation grant.
The new bid in the City Record covers up to 5,000 cams, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Steve Davis tells Capital.
"There's usually a staggered rollout. This particular bid was for up to 5,000 and we're seeking bids from anyone who feel they can meet the specs," he said.The contract would last from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.
The death on Staten Island of Eric Garner in a cop chokehold has only hammered home calls for the cams. There is general agreement that the public would not know what it knows now if not for a civilian video of Garner's last moments of life.
When the pilot program was launched last December, supporters called it an important first step in policing reform.
"Having more visibility to what happened will help us to start having the real conversations we need to have to hold law enforcement accountable and create better relationships between our communities moving forward," said Rashad Robinson, executive director of non-profit ColorOfChange and CopWatchNYC, a website that empowers New Yorkers to monitor officers by filming police encounters.