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Suffolk County police will start wearing body cameras next month

Suffolk County Officials announcing police officers will begin wearing body cameras next month.
Office Of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announcing police officers will begin wearing body cameras next month.

About 130 Suffolk County police officers — in the 7th precinct in Shirley — will begin wearing body cameras starting next month.

Suffolk is among the last police departments in the state to start using body cameras. The program was approved in 2021 as part of state-mandated police reforms.

Getting officers to wear cameras required contract negotiations that give officers an extra $3,000 per year to wear them.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said taxpayers will spend another $22 million to camera maker Axon.

“That five year agreement covers the cost of the purchase of the cameras, the implementation of the program and the maintenance of the body worn cameras and the data systems that are so critical to the program as well," Bellone said.

The county has not yet finalized the department's policy on when officers should turn on the cameras or when they can turn them off. Officials said the cameras will automatically activate when an officer draws their weapon.

Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison said the cameras will show residents the true narrative of police work.

“It's going to allow us to review critical incidents and utilize that to develop training is going to assist in recording and documenting to help strengthen prosecution that think that's important,” he said.

Nassau Police started wearing body cameras last year. Officials credit the cameras with a reduction in civilian complaints.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.