Thirteen counties across New York state will share in more than $1 million to fund police body-worn cameras, Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday. It is worth noting that Greene and Columbia did not apply.
Yes, it’s mainly about helping urban areas deal with urban crime and about the cost of supporting city police departments. But it’s also about the accountability of police forces and about police departments that want to build public trust. That’s as true in rural areas like ours as it is in cities like Rochester and Syracuse.
Body-worn cameras can be used for other purposes, too.
On June 24, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said his department could soon become the first full-time law enforcement agency in Columbia County to be equipped with body-worn cameras. The department this summer was drafting a policy on how and when officers should use the body cameras.
A year earlier, Moore told the city Common Council that his department planned to use the footage recorded by the cameras as evidence in prosecutions, thereby potentially saving the city money in the event of lawsuits.
Columbia and Greene counties should have applied for grants from the body-camera funding. Nothing to lose, but much to gain. The two largest municipalities, Hudson and Catskill, are small, and their police forces are small. So a small share of total funding would not be out of the question. In rural areas, every dollar counts, and our police forces could use the help.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was revised at 5:27 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22.