BOSTON (CBS) — Three weeks into the Boston Police body camera pilot program, Commissioner Bill Evans said the program has been successful so far.
“I think so far it’s been received pretty well,” Evans said. “I think so far so good on the pilot program, and I don’t hear a lot of opposition from the officers.”
As part of the six-month program, 100 officers are wearing the cameras, in addition to eight members of the Boston Police command staff–and Evans said the devices have already made a difference.
“The officers are out there, and they’ve had some good videos where, by wearing them, it has defused the situation,” Evans said. “A lot of situations where we’ve had them on, where the crowd has gotten a little hostile toward us, and the minute they see the camera on, they sort of go away.”
The program officially began on September 12, and was delayed because the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Union challenged the program. The head of the union said it wasn’t that they were opposed to body cameras, but that they just wanted to express concerns about their bargaining rights.
Evans initially wanted to put the cameras only on officers who volunteered. None did, and so he ordered 100 officers to wear them, leading to the union’s challenge.
On September 9, a judge ruled the body camera program could go forward.
Evans said he didn’t think that court case hurt his reputation or relationship with his officers.
“They do a tremendous job every day,” said Evans. “Crime’s at an all-time low, they’re taking guns off the street. So I don’t think it did anything to slow down their effective relationship with me.”
As for whether or not the department will permanently adopt body cameras, Evans said they will make an assessment after the end of the pilot program.
“I think it’s a pilot, and I hope they see the benefits so that they want to go to the whole thing,” said Evans. “I know a lot of the public wants this, and I know the mayor’s been very supportive of it. We’ll see after the six months, the cost benefit.”