CONCORD — Chief Joseph O’Connor announces that the Concord Police Department has recently completed the implementation of in-car and body-worn camera program that will enhance transparency and accountability for the department.
Concord Police have fitted each marked and unmarked vehicle, including Chief O’Connor’s cruiser, with an in-car camera. The Department also issued WatchGuard body cameras by Motorola to each sworn officer. In addition, the Department is managing videos with the company’s modern, cloud-based video/evidence management system. The Department spent $197,000 to purchase the equipment.
Concord Police is one of only about a dozen police agencies in Massachusetts that have deployed cruiser cameras, while even fewer have deployed body-worn cameras.
“The implementation of our integrated body-worn/in-car camera system will assist us in ensuring the public’s trust in our Department.” Chief O’Connor said. “I am appreciative of our Officers who have once again demonstrated their professionalism and commitment to the community by supporting this important initiative.”
President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing placed a priority on body camera research and camera programs. The Task Force’s final report indicated that officers wearing body cameras had “87.5 percent fewer incidents of use of force and 59 percent fewer complaints than the officers not wearing the cameras.”
The Concord Police Department’s camera policy states:
- Officers must use cameras for official Department activities only.
- All uniformed Officers will wear body cameras in the field, unless the Police Chief determines it is inappropriate to do so during that assignment.
- Officers are required to record their activities in 16 situations, including: arrests; high-risk situations; vehicle and pedestrian stops; use-of-force situations; vehicle and foot pursuits; and advising of Miranda rights. They are exempt from recording in such situations only if the life and safety of the Officer or any other person are endangered.
- Individuals may be recorded when there is no expectation of privacy, such as in a public space. Officers must state that the interaction is being recorded but are under no obligation to stop recording.
- Officers entering a private location such as a residence must announce they are recording.
- Officers are prohibited from recording inside medical facilities during routine matters; during routine medical calls; activities of Department members during non-policing activities; locations where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists, such as dressing rooms or restrooms, except to gather evidence; insensitive exposure of private body parts, except to gather evidence.
The Concord Police Association (Massachusetts Coalition of Police Local 260) and the Town of Concord in July 2020 signed an agreement to allow use of body and in-car cameras. Implementation was delayed in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.