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NYPD officers to be equipped with body cameras, some starting Friday

Public Advocate Letitia James in August demonstrates one

Public Advocate Letitia James in August demonstrates one model of the cameras that NYPD officers will be equipped with. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

The NYPD will begin using body cameras on police officers in some precincts beginning this week under a pilot program, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Wednesday.

Some precincts will start using the cameras as early as Friday, about a month earlier than expected, they said.

Bratton called the body cameras "an important element in that deepening relationship between our police and our communities."

"When something happens, to have a video record of it, from the police officers' perspective, is going to help in many, many ways," de Blasio said at a news conference announcing the start of the pilot program on Wednesday.

De Blasio said the cameras are light and easy to use. They will be turned on at the officers' discretion. The precincts selected for the pilot program had high rates of stop-and-frisk, de Blasio said.

The pilot program will cost $50,000 and will be paid for by the Police Foundation.

The news comes as the city awaits the decision from a grand jury weighing whether to charge Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, who died in July after the officer placed the man in a chokehold. Garner was stopped by police for selling illegal untaxed cigarettes.

De Blasio insisted on Wednesday that the implementation of the body cameras is a "separate matter" from the Garner decision. Meanwhile, de Blasio urged the city to react "peacefully" to the grand jury's decision.


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