Every officer in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority” (SEPTA) Transit Police Department will soon be equipped with a body camera. The agency intends to spend some $300,000 on the cameras in order to equip more than 270 officers by the end of this calendar year.
“Cameras will make good officers great officers and make marginal officers follow the rules, said SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel, in a statement to press. “I'm doing this because I think that it gives our police department more credibility with the community—that they’ll have more trust with us, that they feel there’s some kind of check and balance.”
Each officer will be responsible for activating his or her own camera to record any incident, as there will be limited space to store footage from an entire day from the entire force. Those ignoring this protocol will face “serious repercussions,” according to Nestel, who went on to say that if he has his way, officers could be fired for not recording when they should.
SEPTA’s Transit Police Department is believed to be the first in the U.S. to be fully equipped with body cameras, though several other agencies have been investigating the application of similar technology.