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Watertown police see benefits of wearing body cameras

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 3:15 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown Police Department says it didn’t take long, but the force is already benefiting from wearing body cameras. The technology also means more sets of eyes on city streets.

“When it’s rolling, it’s a nice security,” said Officer Travis Workman.

He admits the new piece of equipment on his uniform took some getting used to.

“Yeah, you forget because you have to double-click it when you get out, so you get out of the car and you’re, like, oops,” said Workman.

But if you ask anyone in the department, the body cameras have made a world of difference.

“There was a bar fight incident where we happened to be there. Looked away for a second, something happened, somebody threw something. I was able to go back to the footage later and see what kicked it all off firsthand, and said, ‘Oh, that’s why everybody was upset about things,’” said Detective Sergeant Joseph Giaquinto, Watertown Police Department.

The city paid more than $65,000 for 53 body cameras. Police started wearing them in February.

“Turn them on, there’s sleep mode, there’s conference mode. They just have us a rundown on that. It’s quick and easy,” Workman said.

Giaquinto says the body cameras not only protect the police officers, but they also protect your rights as well.

“I think it also helps increase the public’s faith in us because when someone is talking or interacting with us, they know it’s being recorded,” he said.

But at a time when police departments are already having trouble finding officers, scanning through hours of footage requires even more manpower.

“It creates issues as far as finding the man-hours and power to go through and deal with it. Any time there’s new technology obviously there’s going to be some growing pains,” said Giaquinto.

Despite the added hours, Giaquinto says it’s worth it to have more eyes on Watertown city streets.

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