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Massachusetts State Police begin implementation of body cameras

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The Massachusetts State Police this week launched its Body-Worn Camera (BWC) system as personnel assigned to Troop F began training in the use of the cameras.

According to Dave Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police, training will continue at Troop F over the next two weeks. Troop F will be the first of the MSP’s sections to be trained in and begin wearing the cameras, to be followed over the coming months by the other five geographic Troops, the Special Operations Troop, and members of other divisions, such as Academy staff.

“Our Body-Worn Camera system is the next step in the evolution of our officer safety and accountability initiatives,” Colonel Christopher S. Mason, Superintendent of the MSP, said. “The camera system will provide valuable digital evidence in our mission to hold perpetrators accountable and will record interactions between officers and the public – thus ensuring that officers maintain the level of professionalism we demand, protecting officers and the public alike from any inaccurate descriptions of an interaction, and assisting us in assessing the credibility of any complaints made against officers.”

At Troop F, which is headquartered at Logan International Airport and is responsible for providing police services and security for all Port Authority facilities and properties, approximately 150 Department members holding the ranks of Trooper and Sergeant will be trained and equipped with BWCs. Additional sessions are being provided to supervisors, legal staff, and system administrators to prepare them for management and administration of the system.

Troop F was selected as the first Department section to be trained and equipped in the BWC system because it operates out of a single barracks location.

Motorola is the vendor contracted by the Department to provide the system, which utilizes the company’s Watchguard V300 camera. Company officials are providing the training.

In collaboration with the State Police Association of Massachusetts (the union representing Troopers and Sergeants), the Department developed detailed policy guidelines governing the use of BWCs and the preservation and dissemination of evidence captured by the system.

The BWC system follows other initiatives implemented over the last two years to enhance officer safety and accountability, including automated vehicle locator (AVL) technology in MSP cruisers, improvements in time- and attendance-validation systems, and reforms to the promotional process. The Department also enhanced and streamlined units responsible for internal investigations and duty inspections and continues to conduct regular payroll audits to ensure that earnings accurately reflect hours worked.

Likewise, the BWC system is one of several measures to improve officer safety. It follows not only the AVL implementation – which allows supervisors to quickly ascertain the location of a Trooper who may need assistance – but also the transition to a full-time dedicated tactical team, a move that ensures tactical operators, who routinely undertake some of the Department’s most dangerous missions, have the highest level of preparation and are rigorously trained in use of force, ensuring that they deploy only the level of force that is commensurate with the threat they are facing.

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