BANGOR, Maine — Last year, the City of Bangor approved the purchase of body cameras for all of its police officers.
For the last couple of months, some officers have been testing them.
Bangor PD is learning how the cameras work, when to turn them on and off, where to specifically wear them, how long its battery and memory lasts, and where to save the video and audio at the end of the day.
Sergeant Wade Betters is the Bangor Police Department's Public Information Officers.
He said body-worn cameras will help with prosecutions and to assess police conduct-- but putting them into use takes time.
"Privacy concerns are a thing and we need to be mindful of that, that's one of the reasons why we came up with a policy to help guide the officer and provide some restrictions and guidelines of when the cameras are to be used and when they are not to be used," said Sergeant Betters. "A lot of the other issues involve data storage, data collection, how long videos will be saved, videos for prosecution versus videos that don't have any value at all."
"This is a tool that helps police better do their jobs, I would like to add that just because we have video it's not as if we are able to easily and quickly release the video to the public, we still have the same type of restrictions we have with a written document under Maine's Freedom of Access Act," added Sergeant Betters.
The Bangor Police Department is still testing the cameras, but all 84 officers will start using them daily in the next month or two.
"We certainly don't want to be in a position where we are collecting video when we are not in a position to adequately store it, be able to recall it and produce it for evidence, and those are the things that slow the process down is getting that ironed out to make sure when its time to move forward we are in fact ready to do that," Sergeant Betters said.
Chief of Bangor police Mark Hathaway submitted a body-worn camera policy for the city of Bangor's advisory committee of Racial Justice, Economic Justice, and Inclusion to review on Friday, March 26.
It includes when it will be mandatory to record a scene, went to end a recording, prohibited recordings, special circumstances, how to classify the recordings, how to download and view video, and when recording will be released.
You can find a draft of Bangor's body-worn camera policy here.