Pennsylvania State Police launch body camera pilot program

The department aims to develop policy and training to allow for wider use.

Eric Walter
June 19, 2018 - 1:26 pm
Pennsylvania state troopers

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania State Police announced on Tuesday that three troops — in Uniontown, Avondale, and Somerset — will wear body cameras through the end of 2018 as part of a pilot program. 

Select patrol troopers will be trained to use one of 30 new body-worn cameras, manufactured by WatchGuard Video. 

The program is funded by a $52,000 federal grant, which will allow the force to fine-tune training, regulations and processes in order to eventually deploy the technology throughout the entire system. 

Since receiving the grant, the department has created an interim policy for using the technology with input from the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

Commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick, who calls himself "an ardent supporter of the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement," said the cameras have the potential to serve the dual purpose of improving public confidence in law enforcement officers and serving as an investigative resource.

The significant cost of the cameras themselves coupled with the cost of data storage and bandwidth presents a hurdle to widespread use of body-worn cameras within the Pennsylvania State Police.

The force has more than 4,300 enlisted members, and it patrols over 80 percent of the land area of Pennsylvania.

Citizens who want footage from state law enforcement body cameras to be released can get more information about the procedure on the Pennsylvania State Police website.