WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The Warwick Police Department announced Monday they will be equipping officers with body-worn cameras.
The technology will be issued to all patrol officers and sergeants, K9 officers, and traffic officers. Chief Bradford Connor told 12 News the equipment is part of an effort to increase transparency and accountability in policing.
“Throughout the nation, incidents happen, and the public calls upon us to be more and more accountable, and I think this is that extra step to what we need,” Connor said Monday.
According to Connor, the department purchased 102 cameras after participating in a pilot program last year where 20 officers wore the equipment.
“To a person, they liked having them,” Connor said. “They liked having the comfort of knowing everything they were doing was being backed up on camera. They saw people acting different when they found out they were being recorded.”
The department secured funding for the cameras through Rhode Island’s Statewide Body Camera Program, which includes grant funding from the state and the Department of Justice.
“We’ve been working on this project for almost two years now,” Connor said. “The first phase was the policy phase and then the funding, then procurement, now we’re into the training and implementation phase.”
The cameras are made by Axon, which also makes the department’s tasers, according to Connor.
“As soon as they take the taser out of the holster, the camera will automatically come on, if it’s not on already,” Connor said.
The department is staggering the cameras into use on patrol shifts starting Tuesday. All officers will be provided with a camera and trained on how to use it by mid-March.