FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Seven Fall River police officers are now equipped with body cameras.
Fall River Police Chief Paul Gauvin tells 12 News the goal of the body cameras is to promote accountability and transparency.
“Body-worn cameras are a great tool for us to reinforce the public’s perception of police professionalism,” Gauvin said. “It’s also a great tool for us to preserve factual interactions between police and citizens.”
Right now, only officers assigned to the Special Operations Division are wearing body cameras. But Gauvin hopes all of the department’s officers will eventually be equipped.
“Our officers see this as a welcome change,” he said.
Gauvin said the cameras have a 30-second buffer and can capture even the smallest moments and interactions.
The cameras also automatically turn on when an officer removes their weapon from the holster, according to the police chief.
Mayor Paul Coogan tells 12 News the pilot program is being funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.
“I think it’ll both protect the residents and protect the officers, and that’s what it’s all about as far as I’m concerned,” Coogan said. “I really do hope that they get used for positive things, like those films you see where [officers] are helping someone out of a car, or they are helping a parent with a child. I want this to be a positive thing for Fall River.”
Gauvin, a proponent of the cameras, said the department expects many requests for body camera footage in the future.
“We will conform to all state and federal regulations regarding the Freedom of Information Act,” Gauvin said.
There’s no timeline as to when all of the department’s officers will be equipped with body cameras.