Local Government and Politics, News, Police/Fire

Salem police officers to wear body cameras starting next year

SALEM ― City police officers will start using body-worn cameras in 2022, according to an agreement announced Tuesday between the city, the Police Department, and the Police Patrolmen’s Union. 

“The implementation of body-worn cameras is very important to me as the chief of the Salem Police Department, as a career police officer, as an advocate for sensible, fair policing, and as a resident of Salem,” said Police Chief Lucas Miller. “The cameras will aid police investigations, provide valuable evidence in criminal proceedings, promote transparency and police integrity, and provide a valuable resource in evaluating police policy and procedure. I hope to have the program operational as soon as possible.”

The department is currently in the process of buying the cameras and preparing necessary hardware and software for their effective use. The department anticipates that the first cameras will be ready for official use in the first quarter of 2022.

Salem police officers will receive appropriate training before they are issued a camera.

The city’s Race Equity Task Force recommended the use of body cameras in its report released earlier this year. Funding for the first phase of the program was included in the city’s fiscal year 2022 budget.

The city has also applied for a state grant to finance implementation of the future phases of the program.

“I’m grateful for the hard work of the department, the union leadership, and our Race Equity Task Force community volunteers who have led us to this positive outcome, and to the members of the City Council who voted to fund this critical initiative,” said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. 

The complete policy regulating camera use and who will carry them will be available for public review on the department’s website before the launch of the body-worn camera program.

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