Nassau County unveils new body cameras for police

MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) -- Nassau County unveiled new police body cameras that officials hope will create more trust and accountability between the department and the public.

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Thursday the county plans to get the cameras out by the end of the year.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said the county plans to purchase approximately 2,500 cameras for $5 million.

She says they're discussing paying officers $3,000 to wear them.

"This is an important step that enhances transparency and promotes greater accountability in the police department," Curran said. "We are committed to building further upon the well-established trust that the Nassau County Police Department has already established with the communities they protect and serve by implementing this critically important investigative tool."

The Nassau County PBA says its officers aren't opposed to wearing them because they protect police as well. But the PBA wants to be included in all decisions about the details of the cameras like when and how they will be used.

"Body cameras serve to protect police officers and the public alike," James McDermott, President of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, said. "Nassau Police Officers do not oppose wearing the apparatus, if this conclusion is reached through contractually obligated negotiations between the County and the Nassau County PBA."

Suffolk County police officers will be getting body cameras soon as well.

Those with the department said officials are meeting with vendors and, if approved, officers could start wearing them in the fall or early winter.

"The implementation of body-worn cameras is a top priority for the Suffolk County Police Department and an integral part of the police reform plan that received overwhelming approval by the county legislature in March," the police department said in a statement to Eyewitness News.

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Officials agree that smaller communities that may not have the resources to do lengthy background checks will benefit the most from the Wandering Officers law.

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