On June 19, Mayor Ben Walsh issued the Syracuse Police Reform Executive Order No. 1 Action #4. The fourth action in the Mayor’s first Executive Order called for the completion of the Syracuse Police Department’s efforts to “obtain additional body-worn cameras so that all uniformed officers assigned to patrol or who otherwise respond to citizen calls will be equipped with body-worn cameras.
Field Testing and Training on Body-Worn Cameras
After testing three models of body-worn cameras with Axon, the Syracuse Police Department decided to enter into a contract with Axon for its compatibility, functionality, and durability. The department entered into a five-year contract with Axon for 220 of its next generation ‘Body 3’ body-worn cameras as of July 31, 2020. Upon receiving shipment of the body-worn cameras, the Syracuse Police Department Information Technology Division worked to both register all 220 body-worn cameras to individual officers, and make certain they were compatible with the Onondaga Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
Once the registration and compatibility were completed, Syracuse Police began training groups of uniformed patrol officers on the functional nuances of the specific model of body-worn camera as well as the Syracuse Police Department’s current body-worn camera policy. The duration of training ranges from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on whether the officer being trained had operated a previous version of the Axon body-worn camera Syracuse Police used on a trial basis. The training consisted of two instructional components:
- First, the Officers were trained via a PowerPoint demonstration from Axon that carefully exhibited and explained each component and nuance of the ‘Body 3’ body-worn camera.
- Second, Officers carefully reviewed and discussed the Syracuse Police Department’s current body-worn Camera policy.
As of Monday, October 26, Syracuse Police has successfully deployed 203 of the total 220 ‘Body 3’ body-worn cameras.
The next steps for completing full implementation of body-worn cameras to the Syracuse Police Department include:
- Successfully deploying the remaining 17 ‘Body 3 body-worn cameras’.
- Securing additional funding of $140,000 to allow the department to outfit uniformed Sergeants with ‘Body 3’ body-worn cameras.
- Launching the Axon Performance program which is an automated auditing system that monitors body-worn camera usage and other factors to gauge compliance with SPD’s Body Worn Camera Policy.
- Budgeting for additional positions to both monitor and manage the administrative functions of the Body-Worn Camera Program (i.e. Freedom of Information Law requests, crime scene investigation, monitoring of compliance, performance and training issues, etc.)