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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A defect that led to an explosion in a body camera worn by a New York City police officer caused the NYPD commissioner to suspend the use of nearly 3,000 thousand cameras.
In a statement, the NYPD explained:
“Last night, an officer retrieved a body cam for deployment on a midnight tour and noticed there was smoke exiting from the bottom portal and immediately removed it. After it was safely removed, the device exploded. There were no injuries sustained.”
The particular camera used in New York is a Vievu Model LE-5.
“We don’t use that brand,” Pittsburgh police Commander Ed Trapp told KDKA’s Jon Delano on Monday.
Trapp is responsible for the city police’s body-worn cameras which he first implemented in 2012.
“That was one of the brands that were around when I first were looking at it,” he said. “It just didn’t fit what I was looking for, and so we decided to go in another direction.”
Instead, the local police use the Axon Body 2 camera, and Trapp says he’s not worried about its safety.
“Anything that has a lithium battery in it, there is some risk to it, whether it’s your cell phone or a flashlight or anything else, but those have been so thoroughly tested, I’m pretty confident in them,” Trapp said.
All city police officers except the newest recruits wear body cams, and Trapp says body cams reduce false charges against police officers and encourage police not to use excessive force.
“We’re having a lot of success with the officers wearing it and the results we’re seeing from it,” Trapp said.
As for the changing technology, Trapp says the city’s contract allows for frequent updating of the equipment.
“Electronic devices have a shelf life of about 18 months before the next best thing comes out. So as part of our thing, we get ours replaced with the next generation,” he said.
So far, the commander says he has never heard of battery problems with the Axon Body 2 camera.