A technological advancement that has been used by some police forces as well as by other professions for years is coming to a local police department later this month.
Chief Tom Barndt of the Lower Saucon Township Police Department announced Wednesday that beginning this Saturday, Jan. 30, his officers will be equipped with body-worn cameras.
In a news release, Barndt noted that the Lower Saucon Township Police Department’s patrol vehicles have been equipped with in-car camera systems for more than a decade.
“The Lower Saucon Township Police Department is committed to a partnership with the community and deploying body-worn cameras is another way to increase transparency and continue to build trust,” Barndt said in the announcement, which was shared on the department’s Crimewatch site.
He added that, “the entire department has received the appropriate training on the body-worn cameras and associated policy.”
Barndt credited a $22,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Chiefs’ of Police Association and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Deliquency, with helping to fund the purchase of the cameras.
The total cost of the body-worn camera project was $44,007, the news release said.
Body cameras may be worn by law enforcement agents to provide documentation of their interactions with members of the public, in order to help protect both citizens and officers from false allegations of misconduct as well as to prove misconduct in such cases.
Pennsylvania does not mandate the use of body-worn cameras by local law enforcement officials, leaving it up to individual police departments to formulate their own policies. However, some states require that all police officers are equipped with body cameras.
The Lower Saucon Township Police Department currently employs 15 full-time and six part-time officers, according to information on the township’s website.
The mission statement of the department is as follows:
The Mission of the Lower Saucon Township Police Department is to preserve the public peace and order, to protect life and property, and to enforce the laws of the United States, the Commonwealth, and the Township; to stimulate public awareness of law enforcement programs through the conduct of safety and crime prevention educational activities and community relations programs; and to provide prompt and courteous assistance to the public.
To learn more about the department, as well as register for updates, visit their Crimewatch site.