The William Paterson University Police Department will join law enforcement agencies across the country that have deployed body-worn cameras (BWCs) as an important tool to improve evidentiary outcomes, and enhance the safety of, and improve interactions between, officers and the public.
The practical utility of BWCs is twofold. First, the cameras are able to record objectively the circumstances of an interaction between the police and a member of the public. Second, the use of the devices can discourage both officers and civilians from engaging in inappropriate conduct that can be recorded. Their use is an important tool in increasing transparency in police-citizen interactions.
When deployed, these cameras will be worn by our uniformed officers at all times. A photograph of the BWC and how it will be worn is included here. A blinking red light, clearly visible, around the center button will signify that the BWC is recording.
While these devices can be helpful, they are not perfect. They only capture what is in front of the officer’s chest with a view that approximates the human field of vision. If an officer turns their head without moving their body, then the view from the BWC will not accurately reflect what the officer saw. In other words, the BWC only has limited field of vision and may not capture everything that occurs during an interaction. The department does have the capacity to sync multiple BWCs if there are multiple officers present.
It is our sincere desire that these devices will have a positive impact on the interactions between our officers and our University community, while increasing transparency. There are specific instances when the BWC may be deactivated, such as a medical emergency. I encourage you to ask any officer about how the camera functions and when it is recording.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Director of Public Safety and University Police
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, New Jersey 07470