Milford police officers begin using body cameras

MILFORD — Police officers in Milford now have a new device attached to their uniforms: body cameras.

They will be used regularly by 26 of the 32- officer department, according to Chief Kenny Brown. The remaining officers, he continued, are in administrative roles and will not be out in the public enough to need body cameras.

“They should be on with any interaction with the public,” he said, adding that officers can turn the devices off or set them to visual recordings only should the need arise.

The cameras were purchased through Taser, a company which provides not only weapons, but also evidence management and training services.

Body cameras, car cameras, video storage and training was initially set to cost the city of Milford $145,000; however, the cost went down to $117,000 when Taser refused to offer the car cameras as they were not yet ready for release.

Of the remaining cost, $35,000 was granted through the state of Delaware to the Milford Police Department to help cover initial costs.

The rest will be paid yearly for four years. By vote of the city council, the city of Milford previously promised to cover up to $20,000 of those yearly costs for the four remaining years, although Chief Brown said he hopes to find grants to cover expenses.

Video storage is one of Chief Brown’s favorite features of the new equipment. Daily camera video feeds will be uploaded into the cloud once an officer puts the device on the docking station to charge after a shift.

“The real important part of that is the attorney general,” he said.

The Milford Police Department and Attorney General’s office will be able to access videos right away, instead of using employee hours to dig through countless videos before they find the right one and take more time to mail it to the attorney general’s office.

“That’s a huge problem to us. It takes a lot of someone’s time that this will hopefully alleviate,” he said.

The videos will help offer the department additional transparency, along with security for its officers.

“I trust that our guys are doing the right things out there. I just want to be able to prove it to you if the need arises,” Chief Brown said. “At least this way, we can have our version, [which is] hopefully a full version.”

An added bonus? “I’ve had no pushback from officers,” he went on to say.

Cameras and recorded encounters aren’t new to the Milford Police Department who has had car cameras already for about ten years.

“I think it’s a great tool for officers in their day-to- day activities in dealing with complaints,” Sgt. Tim Lord said.

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.