PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police have begun to train with new portable cameras this week and the technology looks like something right out of a movie, as evidenced by a promotional video by Taser International, the makers of the Axon Flex camera.
The department has purchased 50 cameras at about $3,000 each – primarily for bicycle and motorcycle officers.
They are small enough to be mounted on the officer’s glasses or their cap or even their collar. The city already has cruiser camera capability in four of six police zones and is working on adding more.
And it’s aimed at giving both police and the community a closer look at police encounters that can become controversial.
City Council members who’ve worked closely on public safety legislation say in the long run, more surveillance capability is good for all sides.
Public Safety Chair Theresa Kail-Smith says, “I think it will be a good tool for our police officers to have to substantiate some of the reports that they bring back and to verify that the stories that they’re telling are accurate and maybe give additional information as they’re doing further investigations on a case.”
“What it really does is it protects the officers from false accusations,” says Rev. Ricky Burgess, who represents the Homewood area. “Most of the time this video exonerates the officers, but at the same time I think it really increases community confidence and when you increase community confidence, you also increase public safety.”
KDKA-TV asked the department to show us how it works but the department issued a statement late today saying that policy and training issues have yet to be resolved before the equipment can be demonstrated or utilized.