The City of Rochester and a community coalition sign agreement regarding body cameras

Nov 28, 2017

Credit wxxi photo

Rochester city officials say they've formalized an agreement with a community organization designed to strengthen the Police Department's Body Worn Camera Program.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the city and the Coalition for Police Reform -- Community Justice Advisory Board.

Mayor Lovely Warren says the MOU will open up a direct and transparent exchange of information regarding the body camera program.

"Through this MOU, we are going to work closely with the coalition to make sure they have all the information they need to make an honest and ongoing assessment of the body worn camera program," she said.

The agreement allows the Coalition expedited access to public information about incidents that involve body worn cameras.  And they'll have an opportunity to meet four times a year with Deputy Chief Wayne Harris to discuss how the program is being used.

The Rev. Lewis Stewart is co-chair of the coalition for Police Reform.

He says this formalizes and informal relationship they've had with police the last year and a half.

Police Chief Mike Ciminelli joins Mayor Lovely Warren and the Rev. Lewis Stewart at City Hall discussing the MOU regarding body cameras.
Credit Alex Crichton

"By having a citizens asking questions and making recommendations, looking at the utilization of the body worn cameras and making those suggestions that are necessary. I think that will go a long ways towards improving and building I think trust legitimacy," he said.

Police Chief Mike Ciminelli says the agreement memorializes the relationship with the coalition and reaffirms the department's commitment to transparency, and achieving the goals of public safety through trust and respect between the community and the police department.

There are around 500 body cameras in use now, and Ciminelli says they are generating up to 43,000 videos per month.

Mayor Warren on the importance of the MOU: