The Freeport Police Department will equip patrol officers and supervisors with in-car video systems and body cameras to assist in crime-fighting and increase public safety with new technology. The Nassau County District Attorney’s office will provide $108,000 in Asset Forfeiture funding to expand, to a department-wide level, the Freeport Police Department’s existing pilot program.
“The use of these cameras will enhance the Freeport Police Department’s crime-fighting efforts, help protect the citizens they serve, and aid in DA office investigations and prosecutions” DA Rice said. “This collaboration will help the people of Freeport and the hard-working officers and prosecutors who serve and protect them every day.”
“These cameras have proven to be an extremely beneficial tool in fighting crime, providing better policing and supporting crime victims,” said Freeport Police Department Chief Miguel Bermudez.
The funds will be used to purchase 30 additional body cameras – cigar-shaped devices that are visibly worn under an officer’s epaulet at shoulder level – and 11 additional in-car video systems. The Freeport Police Department currently has four body cameras as part of a pilot program launched in January 2014, as well as eight in-car video systems.
DA Rice said that encounters captured on video can provide critical evidence of criminal behavior and help protect citizens. The cameras will also aid prosecutors by providing valuable evidence at trial.
According to Chief Bermudez, some of the benefits of mobile and body-worn cameras are:
• Recording victims’ injuries and statements
• Documenting defendants’ actions at time of arrest
• Evidence gathering at crime scenes
• Allowing juries to see and hear an event from the officer’s perspective at the scene
• Reducing false complaints against police officers
Other news from the Freeport Police Department:
At a community policing meeting held at the Freeport Memorial Library on Monday, June 16 Freeport Police Detective Lieutenant Wayne Giglio told residents that while there has been an uptick in assaults and robberies, mostly due to cell phones; burglaries and larcenies are down. “In fact, crime is down 12.5%,” said Giglio.
Freeport has five detectives in the police department, four are in plainclothes. They are assisted by an intelligence officer and “there is a detective for walk-in complaints,” said Giglio.
While felonies are handled by Nassau County Police, the two police departments work together to address serious crimes.