BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – The Village of Bath Police Department will begin wearing body cameras on Friday, June 25. Acting Chief of Police Colin Taft says video from the cameras will be used as evidence on arrests, use of force reviews. and citizen complaints.
Every police department in Steuben County was offered body cameras by Corning Incorporated amid New York’s recent police reform laws.
For nearly 170 years, Corning has been dedicated to using our technologies and financial strength to positively impact the world and the communities in which we operate. Corning believes this contribution will help increase transparency and local progress toward police reform to benefit all in the community. We look forward to working with all municipalities in Steuben County to advance this initiative forward.
“I think it will cut down on personnel complaints and give us an even more rock-solid case to present to the DA’s office to get the prosecutions we need to make Bath great again,” said Taft.
Prior to Corning Inc’s offer to purchase cameras for local departments, the only departments in Steuben County that were previously wearing body cameras were the Steuben County Sheriffs Department and Painted Post Police, according to Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard. A commitment to research body cameras is in many local police reform plans.
“In almost every reform plan was the need for body cameras, but also, the need for funding,” Allard said.
The price tag of the cameras and the storage of the videos is significant, according to Allard. The cost for Sheriff’s department alone will cost roughly $120,000.
Corning Inc. offered to purchase the body cameras as well as services, fees, and storage for two years.
Each department and the municipality that they serve must accept Corning Inc.’s offer by the end of the month, according to Gabrielle Bailey, Corning Corporate Communications representative.
“So far we’ve received very positive responses from many of the law enforcement agencies throughout the county that we made the offer to,” Bailey said. “Since they have until the end of the month to officially respond, we can’t confirm specifically which departments [have accepted] yet.”
The City of Corning requested an extension on the offer until November to continue their research into body cameras.
“On Dec 22, 2021, the City Council voted to ratify the City of Corning Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Plan. One action item in that plan calls for an evaluation of body cameras. That review and evaluation will commence after our budget, which we vote on in June. Corning Inc. has graciously agreed to extend their offer to allow us to complete our review,” Boland explained in March.
Corning Police Chief Jeff Spaulding echoes Boland, saying that they need more time to research if body cameras are the right tool for their police department.
“My question back to you would be why the rush?? I think we need to do the study and research,” Spaulding said in a text. “This is not something that we want to quickly throw together. We want a quality program and I believe that quality will take a little bit of time,” Spaulding said.
The departments that do accept the offer at the end of March could get the cameras by June, according to Allard.
By the third year, when the municipalities take over the cost of the cameras and storage and every department will get a full hardware upgrade, according to Allard.