Lehigh Valley

Allentown police unveil body cams

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - There's a new tool aimed at ensuring greater transparency in the Allentown Police Department.

The department announced patrol officers will begin wearing body cameras on November 1.

APD is now one of 53 departments in the country to receive federal money for body cameras and on Tuesday it showed them off to the public.

"Really focusing on building the bonds with our community, building trust," said Allentown police chief, Glen Dorney. "That is the key to success as a community, as a neighborhood, as a department, and as an organization."

The federal program started in May 2015 as a way for local police to increase transparency.

The city matched the $250,000 federal grant.

The money purchased hardware, two new created positions, and 200 cameras.

Dorney admits there are limitations with cameras like field of vision, dark video, and second guessing from the public.

"99.9% of the time they are doing the right thing and this will show that and will prove that," added Dorney.

"I needed to understand the reasons for the camera, what was going to happen," said Allentown resident, Dale Livingston.

A big question is who will be controlling the cameras.

Each officer will be responsible for turning on the device as warranted which is a concern for some.

"There have been in other states where officers haven't been responsible enough to turn them on," added Livingston. "Or they've placed it where you couldn't see the actual incident."

Those concerns were addressed by the top brass in the department.

"If we find somebody is a habitual offender of not doing it, there's going to be discipline and they know that," said Dorney.

Currently, there are 30 cameras on the street, and the department will be doing a full roll out on November 1st.


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