BARNEGAT – Barnegat police have added body cameras to their uniforms as part of the recently instituted Body Worn Camera (BWC) program. According to the department, the BWC program aims to supplement the transparency and accountability of Barnegat officers.
All uniformed officers will be wearing body cameras that will record all interactions with the public while on duty.
“Some agencies adopt BWCs in response to a string of negative incidents or to address mistrust from the community,” said Chief Keith Germain. “Due to the outstanding work and professionalism of our officers, we’re fortunate to already enjoy widespread community support and a strong foundation of trust. BWCs represent a proactive approach to maintaining and building on that trust going forward.”
Germain noted that the BWC program will also help to investigate complaints about officers much more efficiently by using the audio and video recordings from the BWCs to review interactions.
The BWC footage will also help to document the race and gender of those with which the officers interact. Police also hope to use BWC footage as a new training tool for the agency.
As an agency accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, “we have long documented and conducted analysis with regard to the race and gender of those who’ve been subject to motor vehicle stops and traffic summonses. The body worn cameras will allow us to now expand that monitoring and analysis to every official police-citizen contact,” said Germain.
The BWCs will be worn on the upper-center portion of officers’ vests.