Trenton Police adding body cameras to officers

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The Trenton Police Department is going high tech, in an attempt to be more transparent with the public. (WPVI)

The Trenton Police Department is going high tech, in an attempt to be more transparent with the public.

In less than two weeks, each member of the force will be wearing a camera. It will be activated each time an officer responds to a call.

"The idea behind it is to make sure our officers are doing what they're supposed to do and, more importantly, we're going to be using the videos as a training tool," said Capt. Ed Gonazlez of Trenton Police.

The department is holding five public forums to educate the community about how the cameras will be used.

At one meeting with local pastors, police officials said the body camera recordings will not be altered or edited by officers and will be stored by the manufacturer, not the police.

"No one can doctor it, they made sure it's out of their hands, it goes to another company. When it's on camera it's the truth," said Tynetta Howard of Howard Health Choices.

"They are very clear about privacy and some other matters that may come up from our citizens," said Pastor Priscilla Lanier of New Birth Church.

Hundreds of departments in New Jersey are currently using body cameras or, like Trenton, gearing up to use them. Officials say in one California town that began using them, there was an 88% drop in citizen complaints.

"I think everybody thinks twice once they're in front of the camera. They think about what they're going to say, they think about how they're going to act, they think about what they'll actually do," Ernie Parrey, Trenton Police Director.

"As we've seen nationally, even though we've seen the video yet they're still has not been justice, so that would be one of my concerns," said the Rev. Robert Donaldson of Friendship Baptist Church.

Police brass say there are some concerns among officers about the new technology, but in the end they believe recording cops' interaction with the public will benefit everyone.
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