The Springfield Police Department on Wednesday had its first group of 12 trained officers and supervisors outfitted with Body-Worn Cameras. A formal SPD curriculum was developed for the BWC system and SPD Training Officers will be responsible for training personnel to proficiency. The entire sworn staff of nearly 500 officers is expected to be trained by the end of the summer.
The Springfield Police Department’s Department of Justice (D.O.J.) Body-Worn Camera Liaison believes that the Springfield Police Department is the only police department to have been able to move forward and launch a body-worn camera program during this Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have always said that I see Body-Worn Cameras as something that will help us, not hurt us. Now more than ever I believe they will protect us. The Mayor has been a firm believer in body-worn cameras and has supported us throughout this entire process,” said Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I am happy to see the fruits of our labor paying off as our Springfield Police Department begins to deploy and utilize our body-worn cameras. From the beginning, I strongly believe that this program will help our efforts to assure best practices, improve our policies and practices, while taking advantage of new technology. I want to commend Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood for her leadership and support of this program which I firmly believe is putting us on a path where improved trust, confidence, and effective policing will be the end product.”
For the first five years, the entire system including equipment, storage and renovations to our building will cost around $2.5 million. We’ve received a federal grant of more than $1 million to help offset some costs. To receive the grant, the Department of Justice has reviewed and approved the Springfield Police Department’s Body-Worn Camera policy. The additional money will be received through a bond and the general fund.
The recorded camera footage will provide an officer’s perspective; it will not have technological enhancements such as facial recognition or night vision. It’s important to understand that police officers do not see or hear everything that Body-Worn Cameras record while they are responding to a call.
All uniformed officers will wear body-worn cameras, with the exception of our Quebec officers when they are inside a school, due to privacy concerns. The school department does have cameras inside its schools. The body-worn cameras will always be on during an officers’ shift. Footage is recorded and saved from 30 seconds prior to when a BWC is activated. Audio recording begins at the point of activation. The body-worn cameras are automatically activated at the onset of emergency lights being turned on or manually at the officer’s discretion.
Certain recording will be prohibited including locations where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, confidential informants, medical calls and when an officer does not have permission to record within a residence without a warrant.
Commissioner Clapprood would like to thank Deputy Chief Rupert Daniel, Lieutenant Richard Randolph, Winbourne Consulting, IT Manager Jiansong Xu and our Director of Business and Technology Jennifer Leydon for making sure the implementation of our Body-Worn Camera program was done efficiently and effectively.