Updated:Chaos in the streets of Ferguson, Mo. after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer have led to some officers in that town to wear body cameras to record their every move. And now, police in at least one local city are thinking about using the cameras with their officers.
The Worcester Police Department is looking to add body-mounted cameras to the gear its officers carry.
"Having that video available when a citizen files a complaint, not only helps with the investigation, but also protects the officer from a false complaint. And if the complaint sustained it gives powerful evidence that the officer misbehaved," said Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme.
It's been invaluable information for police chiefs across the nation, who have purchased and implemented the devices in the wake of highly controversial officer incidents., like the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
But Chief Gemme admits it won't be as simple as just purchasing cameras. His officers are concerned about policy and implementation.
And the public is concerned about their right to privacy.
In addition addition to issues around privacy, the department will also have to address whether a police officer will be able to turn the camera off at his or her discretion. The ACLU is recommending the cameras be turned on any time a police officer engages a citizen, including if that police officer is simply giving someone traffic directions.
That could be costly.
"When you wanna outfit 450 police officers and the data storage that involves," Chief Gemme said, "That adds an expensive undertaking. Anywhere from $1.5 to $2 million."
"I think if they're going to wear it, it should always be on at all times," said Theona Reets-Lournes.
"We don't have any privacy," said Worcester resident Beverly Jones. "The people that's being reprimanded, they need full force. They need to be seen."
Chief Gemme tells FOX 25's Crystal Haynes that the first step is buying 25 cameras for the SWAT and gang units and vice for training in high intensity situations, with a six month goal of full roll-out.
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