JAMESTOWN — A Jamestown City Councilman is proposing that Jamestown Police Detectives and their supervisors begin to wear body cameras.
Councilman At-Large Jeff Russell (R), a former Jamestown Police officer, made the recommendation during Monday evening’s City Council Work Session. Russell says, currently, that only officers who are in uniform wear them. He says they have to be on when they are in contact with the public.
“I think it’s imperative at the police department that we have transparency,” Russell said. “I think our detectives wearing body cameras when they have contact with the public would further show that we are trying to be transparent, that we aren’t hiding anything.”
Russell suggests that the body cameras would help clear any matters involving allegations that could be made against detectives going forward. He adds that he’d want the blessing of both Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson and Corporation Counsel Elliot Raimondo.
Jackson says he “agrees 100 percent” with Russell.
Russell says the supervisors include a lieutenant and captain. He further explains that this could help against any potential litigation that the City may undergo.
The Councilman At-Large did receive vocal bipartisan support on his proposal. Councilwoman Vickye James (D) says she’s in agreement with Russell.
“I was under the assumption that if you were a police officer, you were wearing a body camera,” James said. “I think the more transparency, the better. Thank you for that suggestion, because I think it is very important that transparency is shown and that every effort to make sure we aren’t trying to hide anything is important.”
Jackson was asked by Councilman Brent Sheldon if he had enough cameras to give each members of the detective bureau a camera. He says he has to do more research on the department’s supply.
Russell says the only time that he could see law enforcement officers not wearing a camera is when they’re investigating drug activity. He adds that talks with criminal informants becomes a “touchy situation.”
Jamestown City Council President Tony Dolce says he think the cameras are “a great idea” but he wants do discuss the matter further in the next couple of weeks.