A portion of the force will wear body cameras as part of a new pilot program. (File photograph)
Over the next six months, about 100 Massachusetts state troopers will wear a body camera as they patrol the state and interact with residents as part of a pilot program put into place with other reforms intended to rebuild public trust in the agency.
According to the State House News Service, the pilot is meant to allow the State Police to evaluate equipment from several different vendors and officials said the cameras “will provide an additional level of accountability and accuracy for Troopers during their interactions with the public, increase officer safety, and enhance the ability to accurately document the actions of criminal offenders.”
After a series of scandals tainted the State Police’s reputation, Gov. Charlie Baker and State Police Superintendent Col. Kerry Gilpin announced last April that the agency would make a number of changes — including activating GPS trackers for marked cruisers, the elimination of the Turnpike-patrolling Troop E and early work towards a body camera program — in hopes of restoring public confidence in the State Police.
Gilpin announced Monday that the State Police had begun its body camera pilot program and said the cameras “offer the potential to bring a new level of officer safety, transparency, and accurate documentation to the tens of thousands of interactions our personnel have with the public every year.”
The union that represents most troopers, the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM), signed a memorandum of understanding with State Police brass to officially support the body camera program.