The New York Police Department does not have a single police officer wearing a body camera right now, even as police departments across the nation are embroiled in controversy over police brutality and accountability.
This is despite the fact that, in 2013, after a judge ruled that the stop-and-frisk policy of the NYPD was unconstitutional, the NYPD was ordered to begin a pilot program of cameras in at least five districts.
While the NYPD said on Monday that a company had been chosen that would supply up to 5,000 cameras over the next five years, the rollout is not scheduled to begin for a few months. The delay has been blamed on the need to select the proper equipment.
“There are still things that have to be worked through,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “But I want to be very clear that they are coming.”
“We’ve been very, very clear about the complication and the challenges of doing this in the biggest city in the country with the biggest police force, by far, in the country,” he said at the news conference. “So we’re going be purposeful about getting it right. Once we start down the road, we have to make sure that we are getting it right.”
But New York Councilman Ritchie Torres believes the “glacial pace” is just a result of a lack of enthusiasm.
“What do you expect to happen when the N.Y.P.D. sets the terms and the pace of police reform?” Torres said. “I have trouble imagining it’s for lack of capacity. I suspect it’s for lack of will.”