State police announce start of body camera pilot program

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Twenty-five Delaware State Police troopers began wearing body cameras Thursday as part of a pilot program. (Delaware State Police)

DOVER — Delaware State Police have begun a pilot program for body cameras. Police announced Thursday 25 troopers throughout the state will wear cameras during their shifts as part of a preliminary effort to evaluate cameras’ capabilities.

Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., the state police superintendent, said in a budget hearing with lawmakers earlier this month the agency had two separate 60-day programs planned. Full-scale implementation could begin in July.

Gov. Jack Markell’s recommended budget includes $350,000 for Delaware State Police to purchase police body cameras. None of the funding for the pilot was set to come from that sum.

“Conducting a body-worn camera pilot project will provide the Delaware State Police with a great opportunity to evaluate the impact of body-worn cameras on troopers and on the community,” said Col. McQueen said in a statement Thursday. “It will also provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate the different types of technology, evidence management, data storage available and to finalize a uniformed body-worn camera policy. The pilot program will also enable Delaware State Police to determine how best to implement a permanent body-worn camera program.”

According to the Justice Department, 15 agencies, including New Castle County, Milford and the University of Delaware already use body cameras.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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