Government’s most primary mission is to protect the well-being of the citizens it serves. As such, we are blessed in Irondequoit to have our very own police department, tasked with keeping our community safe.
I often remind residents that a police department is a service that two-thirds of the towns in Monroe County do not have, and one that we should never take for granted.
Now, more than ever, the relationship between law enforcement and the community is under a great amount of scrutiny. Transparency has become a central pillar of modern-day policing, one that is welcomed by all stakeholders that engage with police.
The Irondequoit Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Richard Tantalo, became the most recent law enforcement agency in the region to activate body-worn cameras for on-duty officers. This was done with the support of the town board, who initially authorized the acquisition of this technology in 2017.
IPD went through a very extensive process of selecting the best model. Ultimately, we relied on the feedback of our officers who will be wearing the cameras. During this process, we also garnered input from both the police union membership and other community stakeholders in developing operational guidelines.
There is no reason not to utilize technology like this. While some may claim this presents an undue burden on our sworn police officers, I am happy to say that our IPD officers were very much supportive of deploying BWCs. In many cases, I suspect this will provide validation to the good police work performed daily.
Ultimately, BWCs provide an objective account, when there may be contrasting accounts of an interaction between an officer and member of the community.
Several years ago, the Obama administration spearheaded the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which has provided communities like Irondequoit with a blueprint to effective law enforcement through community policing and building trust between police and community members. I feel body-worn cameras can be a central tool in helping the Irondequoit Police Department continue to rise to the charge that was presented by the task force.
I remain proud of the good work performed by the members of our police department and feel that this new technology only further strengthens the strong bond they have with the Irondequoit community.