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State attorney general announces funding for police body cameras

Tish James makes the announcement at the Public Safety Building
James Brown
Tish James makes the announcement at the Public Safety Building

State Attorney General Tish James stopped in Rochester Friday to present more than $160,000 for police body worn cameras. The money comes from the attorney general’s fund of money confiscated from organized crime busts. James said some of these cameras cost a thousand dollars a piece.

“While these are common sense tools, the reality is that many law enforcement agencies do not have the resources to purchase them,” said James

The Rochester Police Department will receive more than $100,000 for 70 body worn cameras and 15 docking stations, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will receive just under 60,000 for 30 cameras and 6 stations.

James said she’s hopeful that state lawmakers will secure funds to assist departments with additional costs of the cameras.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said video footage gives department leadership a clearer view of work habits, training gaps, and interactions with the public. He recalled an incident when he was chief of the Greece. He said a man claimed he was manhandled by a police officer and video evidence cleared the officer of wrongdoing. Baxter said the department charged the man with filing a false complaint. 

“It gives us more information than we’ve ever had before when we have to make decisions on what our deputies and our officers are doing,” said Baxter

Baxter said his office began looking for vendors for the cameras Friday and expects deputies to have the new cameras by toward the end of the year. 

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.