Alfred J. Baker, a police spokesman, said the department welcomed the report, but it reflected outdated practices. Some 22,000 of the roughly 35,000 officers in the department wear the cameras, including all officers on patrol and in specialized units.
“The NYPD has long since deployed body-worn cameras for its entire patrol force to realize the benefits of increased transparency and better compliance by officers with the NYPD’s policies and procedures, including those relating to street stops,” he said.
The Police Department joined other law enforcement agencies in rapidly adopting the devices after cellphone video shed light on the police killings of Black men like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York, and ignited nationwide unrest and calls for greater accountability for officers.
Some law enforcement agencies around the country, however, have stopped using the devices, citing the exorbitant costs of storing the resulting video footage and the lack of proof of their effectiveness.
Police body cameras have generated more than eight million videos since they were adopted in New York City, officials said last year, and officers record about 130,000 videos each week, according to the monitor. The devices are routinely used by the police, prosecutors and the city’s civilian police watchdog agency to investigate crimes and review officer conduct in the line of duty.
The vast majority of the footage is shielded from the public, but police have released footage from incidents like fatal shootings to show why they believe officers’ actions were justified. Legal activists have also used the video to push for changes in department policies and procedures, like removing officers from calls dealing with people in mental or emotional crisis.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates accusations of police misconduct filed by civilians, has said that body-camera footage increases the likelihood that its investigators will be able to complete their investigations and substantiate claims against officers.