City of Ulster details police policies on body cameras

Policing issues at Ulster City Council’s meeting last week included proposed policy guidelines for the wearing of body-worn cameras and a contract to purchase new mobile radios.

During the meeting on Thursday, February 3, Police Chief Kyle Berardi said changes to the policy guidelines for body-worn cameras, known colloquially as body cameras, came from the committee. of collaboration for the reform and reinvention of the city’s police.

“We’ve been using dash cams since I’ve been here, 20 years,” Berardi said. “But they wanted to improve transparency like we’re seeing across the country, so it came at a perfect time.”

Berardi said the department’s on-board cameras were at the end of their useful life, so the change allowed for an upgrade. The current setup simultaneously records images from the body camera and the dash cam.

“It came into full effect in December of last year,” Berardi said. “This policy reinforces the proper use, maintenance, storage and dissemination of all data we collect.”

The policy covers the responsibilities of Uniformed Patrol Officers to ensure their body cameras are used and functioning properly, as well as when they should be activated. These situations include calls for crimes in progress, investigative actions where there are interactions with members of the public, traffic stops, and any contact that becomes adversarial after the initial contact would otherwise not need to be registered.

The policy also outlines when body cameras can be temporarily disabled, including during conversations with confidential informants, when officers are conducting strip searches, or when a member of the public requests a disablement.

“This is a presentation of the proposed policy,” said supervisor James E. Quigley, III. “It is available on the City of Ulster website for the public to review. I encourage the community to familiarize themselves with this so that you understand how responsive the Ulster City Police Service is in this matter.

Sole Source Contract for Radios

Later in the meeting, the city council approved a $104,611 contract with the Poughkeepsie-based New York Communications Company (NYCOMCO) to purchase 21 mobile radios after being told by the company that it would not would no longer maintain its current obsolete system.

“Our current radios are over 20 years old and they are no longer looking to service them just because of the components and parts,” Berardi said, adding that NYCOMCO will maintain the current system until the new radios are operational.

“We’re probably looking at (delivery) at the end of this year and service in the first quarter of next year,” Berardi said. “”Unfortunately, the radios and the tech part of it are delayed like every other product out there. “

Quigley said the nature of the network prevents the city from exploring other options.

“NYCOMCO provides the radio frequencies and the digital channel through which we connect to those radio frequencies,” Quigley said. “They also own the towers from which these frequencies are broadcast. This therefore qualifies as a sole-source contract for NYCOMCO. »

According to the NYCOMCO contract, the 21 radios cost $1,995 each, each requiring upgraded digital access communication system cards at a cost of $1,140. Other costs per radio include control units for $620, three-year warranties for $180, connector kits for $185, cables for $140, microphones for $80, speakers for $26 , antennas for $89 and installation for $26 each. The contract also includes an on-site service agreement of $10,500.

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