Great Barrington, Sheffield PDs getting body cameras
Heather Bellow is reporting for The Berkshire Eagle Great Barrington and Sheffield expect to be the first municipal police departments in Berkshire County, Mass., to have body-worn cameras for all officers before the end of the year. Massachusetts State Police are already using them. The cameras are paid for by grants awarded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, which is promoting use of body cams for police officers. The towns will have to contribute some funds for related costs. Police chiefs from both towns said a letter of support from their union was required for the funding. Both said it was their officers who pushed for the technology. “I think it’s better for both the police and the public,” said Great Barrington Police Chief Paul Storti. “It protects the public in case we do anything wrong, and protects officers who are accused of doing something wrong.” It will also help them train new officers and review policies, said both Storti and Sheffield Police Chief Eric Munson III. The Sheffield department cruisers have had dashboard cameras for about eight years. Criminal justice reformers have encouraged the use of cameras as a way to increase accountability and transparency. The issue gained attention in the Berkshires last week after a Pittsfield police officer shot and killed a man who had a knife and had allegedly advanced on officers, according to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office. The Pittsfield department currently does not have body cameras, and some in the community have called for their use. Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.