Boston Police Body Camera Pilot Program Ends

(Damian Dovarganes/AP)
(Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Boston police officers are no longer wearing body cameras.

A yearlong pilot program, for which 100 cops wore the cameras, concluded as scheduled on Tuesday.

The cameras have been returned to vendors, and a review of the program by Northeastern University researchers is now forthcoming.

Coinciding with the end of the pilot, the group Boston Police Camera Action Team sent a letter to BPD Tuesday, calling for the immediate implementation of a permanent body camera program.

According to preliminary numbers released by the department, more than 4,400 hours of footage was collected during the yearlong pilot, cataloging more than 33,000 incidents showing officers interacting with the community.

In a statement, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans thanked the officers who participated and said he looks forward to hearing from researchers about "whether or not a program of this type is in the best interests of the Boston Police Department and the community we protect and serve.”

Evans told WBUR's Zeninjor Enwemeka a year ago that, following the outside review, "ultimately it will be my recommendation and the mayor’s on whether the whole department [gets body cameras]."

A preliminary review from Northeastern's Anthony Braga and Jack McDevitt is expected to be completed by early November. A more comprehensive assessment will then follow in 2018.

The pilot was originally slated to last six months, but an agreement in March between the city and the Boston police union extended the pilot another six months. The union had sought an injunction last year to halt the pilot program, but a judge sided with the city and against the union.

For more on body cameras — and what research has found about their effectiveness with regard to police-community relations — check out Zeninjor's 2016 post.

With reporting by WBUR's Newscast Unit


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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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