Newark police to get dash cams, body cams in pilot program

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Police in Newark on Wednesday unveiled body cameras officers will begin using, some as early as next week and the rest in the spring, as part of a federal monitoring agreement.

Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said Wednesday that 65 cameras will be used by officers in the city's South Ward beginning Monday. Fifteen patrol cars also will begin using in-vehicle cameras.

"The City of Newark is honored to share in the development of this important public safety initiative with Panasonic," Mayor Ras Baraka said. "The benefit to the residents of our city through the introduction of this new technology is immeasurable and our partnership with this iconic global corporate partner, which calls Newark home, is a reflection of the company's commitment to the well-being of this community."

The event was held at the Newark offices of Panasonic, which is providing the cameras.

Company officials said the in-vehicle cameras can be automatically activated when an officer turns on the car's flashing lights or siren, which also activates the body-worn camera.

"Panasonic is a proud corporate citizen of Newark and we are pleased to be able to demonstrate our support for our community by donating 80 Panasonic Arbitrator Body-Worn cameras and 15 Arbitrator In-Vehicle cameras to the City," Panasonic senior vice president Faisal Pandit said.

An officer who is not in their vehicle would have to press a button to activate the body-worn camera.

Newark's police were put under a five-year federal monitoring program last year after a Department of Justice investigation found officers made unconstitutional street stops and engaged in the excessive use of force.

"I welcome the use of body-worn cameras to assist police officers in their interactions with the public," public safety director Anthony Ambrose said. "The addition of this equipment is a significant step toward deepening community trust, raising the standard of customer service we provide to the public and ensuring the safety of both citizens and police officers. I am thankful to Panasonic for making this generous donation on behalf of the City of Newark."

The first report on the department's progress was released this week, saying Newark had a significant amount of work to do but was making strides to create a program to improve relations between police and the neighborhoods they serve.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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