WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The Warwick Police Department will begin participating in a statewide body-cam pilot program Tuesday.
Sixteen police officers have volunteered to wear them for the next two months across all three patrol shifts.
The pilot program is part of a larger statewide effort, funded by both state and federal dollars, which Attorney General Peter Neronha announced last year.
The state hopes to eventually have around 1,700 officers wearing the cameras, including within the state police.
“Providence, in many ways, set us on this path by showing what body cams can do for transparency and accountability,” Neronha said.
Warwick offered to be one of the departments taking part in the pilot.
“Within the next several months, Warwick will look to put in an additional 80 to 90 cameras on the street,” Warwick Police Chief Bradford Connor told 12 News.
Officers have to manually turn on the cameras whenever they respond to a call, according to Connor. If they fail to do so, there could be disciplinary consequences.
“We understand that mistakes happen, especially when the program is so new,” Connor said. “But if we saw an egregious act where an officer purposely didn’t turn on their body-worn camera, then that would be ratcheted up to a different level.”
Once the program is expanded, both patrol and field supervisors in Warwick will wear the body cameras. Advocates believe the gear will increase transparency between law enforcement and the community.