As people around the country continue to question the integrity of officers, New York City is in negotiations with their police force. The largest police union in the city is currently working with the city as they negotiate, and one thing on the table is body cameras, and a pay increase for those who will wear them.
Currently, the city is offering a 1 percent increase in pay for those officers that will be required to wear body cameras. While it sounds odd, there are some large complaints from the police force. The body cameras are bulky and can be an encumbrance when officers are working. In order to even wear the body cameras, officers are forced to go through body-cam training, plus the stress of constantly being recorded all day long. The NYPD has been delaying the implementation of body cameras that stemmed from a federal court order in 2013, news of that order can be found here. The delay will come to an end in 2017.
In 2017, one thousand body cameras will be deployed on NYPD officers. By 2008, that number is expected to grow to roughly five thousand. The NYPD currently employs about 35,800 officers, this is still a very small percentage, but it is a start when it comes to complying with the federal court order.
The city wasn’t open to discussing the ongoing negotiations with the police union, but the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association had a few words. They are concerned about the rights and safety of both police officers and the public, and they would like those concerns to be addressed before the city forces officers to wear cameras. While paying officers extra to wear the cameras does not resolve all the issues, it does show the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association that the city is recognizing that it does increase burdens and duties for NYPD officers who previously were originally asked to take on those duties with no further compensation.
In the past, police unions have widely claimed body cameras pose higher stress levels, job difficulties, and concerns over the privacy of the officer as well as some civilians as reasons they stand against the body cameras. Those who believe body cameras will help decrease the questions in officer related shootings believe the police unions are simply trying to block the technology that could bring transparency to the police department.