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Springfield Police Department’s Body-Worn Camera Program Marks Third Anniversary

|   City News

The Springfield Police Department’s Body-Worn Camera Program surpassed its third year on Saturday June 3rd.

All sworn officers and supervisors in the department, just under 500, wear Body-Worn Camera’s while on duty.  To date officers have recorded more than 54,000 hours of footage. 

Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood stated, “From day one I said the body-worn cameras will help us, not hurt us.  Since we implemented this program the number of citizen complaints has steadily decreased and it has increased our officer’s accountability.  It’s been a tremendous tool that has benefitted both the public and our officers.  The body-worn camera footage has assisted the department in recognizing officers for life-saving actions, conducting investigations and aiding the District Attorney’s Office in getting convictions.  As this technology evolves our officers will evolve with it.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “I want to commend Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood and her leadership team for their continued belief, support and investment in our body-worn camera program.  All officers and supervisors, totaling just under 500, now wear the body-worn cameras which has greatly enhanced our public safety aspects and brought increased transparency and accountability on police and public interactions, including hours of video footage of our brave and dedicated police officers saving lives – including performing lifesaving CPR on babies, and responding to criminal activity.  As we mark the third anniversary of this important public safety initiative, I am proud to state that our Springfield Police Department was one of the few, if not the only department in the nation to have launched this initiative during the pandemic and we were the first large major city in the Commonwealth to have a fully implemented body-worn camera system in place.  My administration fully supports our brave and dedicated men and women in blue and providing them with the latest and newest technology that is available to help them serve and protect our community.”   

On June 3rd, 2020 the first 12 Springfield Police officers and supervisors were outfitted with Getac body-worn cameras.  By October 2020 all officers and supervisors were trained and outfitted with the cameras.  The training is also incorporated into the Springfield Police Academy’s curriculum so that when a recruit graduates they are already trained to begin using the cameras. 

All uniformed officers wear body-worn cameras, with the exception of our Quebec Unit 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. 

Officers wear their body-worn cameras at all times during their shift. The cameras, including audio recording, are automatically activated when a cruiser’s emergency lights are activated, and can be manually activated by the officer. Footage is recorded and saved from 30 seconds prior to a camera being activated. The cameras do not have certain technological enhancements, like facial recognition or night vision.  Certain recording will be prohibited including locations where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, confidential informants, during medical calls and when an officer does not have permission to record within a residence without a warrant.

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.   

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm