Earlier this week, Attorney General Letitia James presented the Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Amherst police departments with funds to support body-worn camera (BWC) programs. The BPD received $150,000 for 300 BWCs, the APD received $37,240 for 49 BWCs, and the NFPD will receive $51,759 for 93 BWCs and eight BWC docking stations.
These funds were provided by the AG’s “Capture an Account of a Material Situation” (CAMS) program, which is awarding 13 law enforcement agencies around the state with more than $1 million to purchase 891 body-worn cameras and 321 body-worn camera systems.
“The safety of our communities is our top priority, and body-worn cameras are critical tools for promoting public safety,” James said. “Body-worn cameras provide increased transparency and accountability that help to keep all New Yorkers safe. Communities throughout Erie and Niagara counties will be better served because of this program.”
The CAMS program, which was launched in July 2018 and is funded with money recovered from organized crime takedowns carried out by the AG’s office, provides body-worn cameras and body-worn camera systems to local law enforcement agencies. Body-worn cameras create independent accounts of encounters between police and the public, increasing transparency and accountability, and often providing critical evidence in investigations.
In addition to the Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Amherst police departments, funds have been or will be provided to: Albany County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Rochester Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Syracuse Police Department, Troy Police Department, Utica Police Department, Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and Westchester County Department of Public Safety.
“I commend Attorney General James’ initiative, which repurposes money confiscated from illicit activities for new technology that assists with crime fighting,” Congressman Brian Higgins said. “This new equipment for Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Amherst builds on efforts to keep our communities safe.”
“As we continue our many efforts to build and foster positive relationships between our police officer and our residents, these cameras are critical 21st century tools in providing accountability and transparency,” Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “Again, thank you to Attorney General James for providing funding to support the daily work of the Buffalo Police Department to provide the highest level of service and protection to the residents of the City of Buffalo, and all who work and visit our great city.”
“The Niagara Falls Police Department has always prided itself on being a leader in two areas: early adoption of new technologies that improve our ability to fight crime, and providing the community we serve with maximum assurance that our officers act in accordance with the rules,” Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said. “We thank the attorney general today for providing significant resources to help us better meet both of these critical objectives through deployment of additional cameras.”
“On behalf of the Town of Amherst, we thank the attorney general for the funding provided to the Amherst Police Department for the purchase of body cameras,” Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa said. “It’s important that our law enforcement continues to create positive interactions with our resident and reinforce lawful policing. The body cameras will provide evidence of the actions of all parties during situations, thus creating a higher element of trust with our community. Our objective is to create a safe community for our residents; this funding will allow us to add additional technology to our police force to do just that.”
“Across the country and here in Western New York, we have seen the benefits of body cameras in improving relationships and trust between the police and the public, helping to impartially reveal the truth and enhance accountability for all involved,” New York State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy said. “The funding provided by the attorney general's CAMS program will be a great asset for the Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Amherst police departments and support the critically important job they are already doing every day. I thank the attorney general for her continued commitment to ensuring our region and state remains safe.”
“I would like to thank Attorney General James for providing the funds to equip our officers in the Buffalo Police Department with body-worn cameras,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said. “This technology will go a long way to help protect our officers and the general public with a goal of reducing unnecessary force and improved transparency, accountability, trust, and community relations.”
“This is a major victory for the police and our citizens,” Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen said. “As an advocate for protecting not only our citizens but our police officers with body-worn cameras, I have to thank the Attorney General Letitia James and her office for awarding the City of Buffalo Police Department this grant and I’m excited that more body-worn cameras will be in use on our streets and in our community.”
“As Niagara Falls Police Superintendent, I want to extend a sincere thank you to Attorney General Letitia James and her office,” Niagara Falls Police Department Superintendent Thomas Licata said. “With this generous grant, we can continue our body camera program and enhance it by providing our officers with newer better cameras, a true need as our current cameras have come to the end of their service life, many no longer working. In addition, it will allow us to have cameras issued to all uniformed officers working the streets.
“The Niagara Falls Police Department was one of the first departments in New York state to utilize body cameras. We embraced the opportunity to use this technology to build trust by providing accountability to those we serve. We are pleased to continue in this manner and know that this grant will allow us to accomplish our goals.”