Ithaca, N.Y. — An anonymous donor has agreed to pay for 15 to 20 body cameras for Ithaca police officers, Mayor Svante Myrick has told CNY Central.
Alex Dunbar, a reporter for the TV station, reported on Twitter that the anonymous donor has agreed to pay for the police body cameras.
Myrick said the cameras are expected to be in place by the end of 2014, according to Dunbar.
The news comes a day after mayor announced seven major planned reforms for the Ithaca Police Department in the wake of a highly charged incident involving several unarmed teens. One of those reforms was to place body cameras on all of the city’s police officers as a way to improve accountability.
“Body cameras have a civilizing effect,” Myrick said in a statement Monday. “Recording each interaction will bring a greater level of accountability to our police-community interactions.”
(You can read about those proposed reforms here, or in an Ithaca Voice editorial here.)
Some body cameras sell for as much as $795, according to a report in Reuters.
There’s been significant national attention directed toward the idea after police shot and killed an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri.
Police chiefs are just as enthusiastic about the cameras as police reformers, sharing a belief that the cameras can resolve disputes by recording what really happens.
“Everybody’s got their version of a story, but when it’s on tape, it’s on tape,” says Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, president of the Police Executive Research Forum. “It is what it is.”
The idea was also discussed in a recent story in Yahoo!:
Proponents say the devices add a new level of accountability to police work.
“This is a technology that has a very real potential to serve as a check and balance on police power,” says Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The case supporters make is simple: Police officers and criminal suspects alike are less likely to misbehave if they know they’re being recorded.
We’ll update this story when we learn more.