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6/15/2016 - Burlington Township Police Department Body Worn Camera Implementation

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Burlington Twp. Police Department is pleased to announce that it will begin the implementation process of body worn cameras. As of June 15, 2016, the department has taken delivery of 50 Panasonic New Edition HD wearable Cameras.

The goal of the agency is to have all sworn officers fully outfitted by September 16, 2016. The first set of officers, four patrol officers and one detective, will deploy with the cameras starting Monday June 20, 2016, upon the completion of individual training. Thereafter, the remaining officers will deploy as they are trained with the device.

All uniformed officers will be required to record all interactions with the general public, which include but not limited to motor vehicle / pedestrian stops, calls for service, emergency responses and investigatory matters. Plain clothes officer will be required to record all incidents of investigatory nature, as well as any incidents that require them to act in the same capacity as a uniformed officer. The same will apply for command level staff as well.

The body camera is a tool designed to not just record evidentiary information, but to bolster public confidence, respect and trust of the community by doubling as an accountability measuring device. The camera will record in an unbiased fashion both what the police officer sees and the actions of the citizens they encounter. The recordings will serve as an eye witness, allowing for a more accurate account of an entire event. Recent events have shown that the public is well equipped with cell phone cameras, go pro cameras and or any other video recording device, but they tend to only capture a portion of the police / citizen encounter. Now we have the capability to have a recording of the entire event, which will better enable our investigators the ability to get a more accurate account of an event and of the actions an officer takes.

The system also promotes transparency and impartiality during internal investigations. Incidents where there are allegations of excessive use of force, improper demeanor or other forms of officer misconduct will now be easier to investigate and review with the civilians the making complaint. The investigator will now have the ability to review all actions of all parties involved and get to the truth of matter more objectively.

The Panasonic system was chosen for its ability to integrate with the Department’s current Panasonic Arbitrator 360 HD In-Car video system. In 2015, the Department upgraded the in car camera system to the Arbitrator 360 HD to improve upon the quality of video recordings between the patrol officers and the contact they had with the citizenry. But that system is limited to recording only a visual account of matters taking place in front of the patrol vehicle and the audio recording within a given radius of the patrol vehicle. Now all officers will have the capability to record a large portion of what they see and hear while on a call without the limitations of the in car system. Both the body camera system and the in car system are designed to work together. Once the systems record an incident, officers will classify the type of incident and assign an incident number. All recordings with the same incident number will automatically be grouped together, alloying for a more efficient system of storage and accessibility.

Purchase of the system was made through Wireless Communications & Electronics of West Berlin, NJ. Total cost of the system $68,500.00. Funding for this system came through a combination of grant monies and capital expenditures. Burlington Township Police Department received a $22,000.00 grant through the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s Body Worn Camera Assistance Fund.