All Princeton police to begin wearing body cameras

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The Princeton Police Department is joining the growing number of police departments whose officers are wearing body cameras, thanks to the Princeton Council’s adoption of a bond ordinance that funds the cameras at its July 27 meeting.

Money for the body-worn cameras is contained in a $6.6 million bond ordinance that was approved by the council. The bond ordinance earmarks $565,000 for the body-worn cameras and car mobile video recorders.

At the same meeting, the Princeton Council awarded a contract for up to $550,860 to Axon Enterprise Inc. to supply the body-worn cameras, the car mobile video recorders, a cloud-based digital evidence management system and an interview room recording system.

Seven police officers have been wearing cameras on an experimental basis since February. The purpose of the body-worn cameras is to reinforce the Princeton Police Department’s commitment to being transparent with the community. The cameras will allow the officers to document their interactions with the public.

The Princeton Police Department has been proceeding very deliberately with the process over the past few years, Police Chief Nicholas Sutter said. Administrators have been reviewing operational policies and assessing the technology during the trial period, which began in February.

Earlier, Mayor Liz Lempert said she viewed the body-worn cameras as an important tool for the Princeton Police Department.

The footage that is collected provides a detailed record of incidents, and having cameras also helps to build and maintain trust with members of the community, she said. The town has benefitted from taking its time to implement the program.

“I support having our officers wear body cameras. They are an important tool in fostering openness and transparency, and help to undergird the work the department does every day to build that trust,” Lempert said.