By the end of 2018, all NYPD officers and detectives on patrol will be outfitted with body cameras, city officials announced Tuesday. The devices were originally projected to roll out across the department by the end of 2019.
NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill cited the department's technical and support staff as well as feedback from units that already have been equipped with body cameras for the earlier expansion of the devices.
"We are on track to have all precinct, transit and housing commands citywide up and running with body cameras by the end of the year," he said.
As of Friday, 2,470 body cameras have been deployed by the NYPD, and about 800 will be added each month until March, when that number will increase to between 1,000 and 2,000 devices. By the end of the year, a total of 18,000 body cameras will be in use across the NYPD.
Additionally, the department will upgrade its IT infrastructure, which will include adding the ability to charge the devices in department facilities and additional internet bandwidth that will allow for faster video footage uploads.
"Body cameras have helped guide a new day in policing, bolstering transparency and increasing accountability. Now we're accelerating their expansion," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "By ensuring all patrol officers are outfitted with these essential, modern policing tools a year faster than originally planned, we're helping to make New York City fairer faster and growing trust between police and communities."
Mark Winston Griffith, spokesman for the Communities United for Police Reform, however, disagrees the cameras alone will equate to police accountability and transparency.
"Studies have shown that BWCs have not delivered those results, and the NYPD's policies on the cameras, lack of discipline for police misconduct and refusing to release basic information about the status of police brutality cases undermine any stated goals related to police accountability and transparency," he said in a statement. "The NYPD's policy on public access to the footage is regressive and gives the NYPD unilateral and unchecked control over the captured footage and its release, while the rules on when officers must turn cameras on are equally bad. This makes it nearly impossible that New Yorkers subject to police brutality caught on these cameras - if captured at all - will be able to access their own footage in a reasonably convenient way."