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.

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