On Thursday night, the Camden County Freeholder Board voted to provide body cameras for police, making its police force the largest in South New Jersey to use such equipment. In addition, the ShotSpotter detection program, which uses microphones placed in strategic locations to triangulate gunshots, would also be expanded.
Over 300 body cameras would be utilized at a cost $390,000. According to NJ.com, $260,000 would be spent for the cameras themselves and $130,000 would be spent for servers for data storage.
Because of recent tensions between police and their local communities, the movement to record police interactions with the public has grown. According to Philly Voice, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty said, “It lets everyone know they are on candid camera.”
Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen stated, “Body cameras provide a more robust and objective record of citizen encounters, enhance the quality of excessive force investigations, permit more wide-ranging investigation and adjudication of civilian complaints. They are not a panacea to policing, but we believe they are an excellent tool.”
The use of ShotSpotter will also be expanded in a contract valued at more than $600,000. ShotSpotter uses microphones placed throughout the city that can triangulate the location of gunfire and can alert police more quickly to potential crime scenes. The expansion of ShotSpotter will allow police to monitor the entire city.
Currently, there are about 30 microphones being used. They are located on both public and private property and only activate when they detect the sound of gunfire.
Camden County Police Department Chief Scott Thomson said, “What police department wouldn’t want to know instantaneously if a gunshot occurs.”