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Cambridge officials not standing in way of process on body cameras

Kevin West, a trained crisis responder with Cambridge HEART, reacted as Cambridge police explained their actions during a special Cambridge City Council meeting about the police killing of Sayed Faisal in the Sullivan Chamber at Cambridge City Hall on Jan. 18.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

A Globe editorial last month calling for police body cameras in Cambridge indicated that who has authority to make changes in our city is not well understood, and it noted that the city manager has sole power to allocate funding. So I take issue with the accusation by a letter writer, in response to the editorial, that our “politically correct” City Council stopped any body camera initiative (“City governed by ideologies rather than common sense,” Letters, Jan. 25).

The record is clear that the City Council is open to cameras, since councilors unanimously passed a policy order to discuss the idea and held a hearing on it in 2020. The former city manager never asked for council approval or included funds in his recommended budget. Thankfully the current city manager and police commissioner are exploring the idea now.


Despite some councilors’ concerns over surveillance and cost, there will probably be a recommendation to fund cameras soon. At that point the council will weigh in.

The entire council shares the community’s grief over the tragic fatal police shooting of Sayed Faisal and is seeking ways to improve our systems to ensure that such an event never happens again.

Patricia Nolan


The writer is a Cambridge city councilor but is writing this letter as an individual.