LONDONDERRY – Police will move forward to acquire body cameras for officers and for cruisers to be outfitted.
At a Town Council meeting March 15, police Chief William Hart gave an update on plans for his department to move forward with body cameras, something he said would serve the department and personnel well.
Hart had talked about the cameras in months past during the town's budget season prior to election day in March.
No warrant article was put forward about the cameras, Hart said.
The chief said the department did its research, looking into several companies that provide the cameras and equipment, including software.
It's also not just about what the cameras would provide for the officers, but also what cameras and video footage might mean when it comes to evidence and prosecution efforts.
"But in my judgment, the world has changed," Hart said.
And having cameras has become more of a best practices effort, Hart said, and being utilized in departments for various reasons.
The company Londonderry police are looking at includes cameras and accompanying software including GPS tracking that offers additional protection for officers.
Londonderry police Capt. Patrick Cheetham told town councilors that cameras do so much more for a Police Department in these current times than before.
"It provides so many more services, not just recording," Cheetham said.
That includes collecting evidence, video, and having GPS capabilities to support the tracking of officers and their locations.
And that could support any situation where an officer may be out in the field, and if need be, could be located quickly due to the GPS technology that's part of the body camera the officer is wearing.
With so many advances in technology, Cheetham said bringing the cameras to Londonderry would support the department's mission to do due diligence and continue with its good work in the community.
The cost for the cameras would run about $496,000 over a five-year period, Hart said, adding they have picked one company to work with.
That would include 50 total units for officers and 12 cruisers.
Town Councilor Jim Butler supported the effort and other councilors approved as well.
"I wish our officers had a camera," Butler said. "I take this very seriously."
Hart thanked the council for the support.
"Thank you and thank you to the town for the faith in us," Hart said.
In other Town Council business, John Farrell was elected to continue as chairman and Councilor Joe Green will continue as vice chairman.