Boston police will test body cameras
Amid a national controversy about race and policing, Commissioner William B. Evans voiced support Tuesday for a pilot program in Boston that will place body cameras on police officers.
“We have several vendors coming in the next couple days to look at them,” Evans said of the body cameras in an interview on WGBH’s Greater Boston Tuesday night. “It’s gonna happen.”
Evans said he hopes to bring the program to the city within the next few months.
“I’m working with our legal staff to look at the policies across the country, I’m working with the unions,” Evans said. “So it’s coming here.”
The deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., New York, South Carolina, and Baltimore at the hands of police have caused community leaders to demand increased police accountability. Police in New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., use body cameras or have participated in a pilot program.
Daunasia Yancey, the founder of Black Lives Matter Boston, said she is in favor of the program, as long as it is executed properly.
“Black Lives Matter Boston definitely thinks that the body cameras are a tactic to promote police accountability,” Yancey said in a telephone interview. “We hope the implementation will be heavily informed by the community.”
Yancey said she has concerns about the cameras, especially how the footage will be used. She worried that the angle of the video might be misleading, and said she would not want that to affect investigations. “There are a lot of ways we can see police use this in a negative way,” she said.
Bonnie McGilpin, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, said the mayor believes cameras could be a “valuable investment” for the police force.
“Body cameras are only one tool in police work, and do not address the fundamental problems of inequity in our communities,” said McGilpin in a statement. “Mayor Walsh’s main focus is to address these inequities and to continue to build strong community relationships and enhance trust between police officers and residents.”