JAMESTOWN – Retired Jamestown Police Officer and current Jamestown City Councilman at large Jeffrey Russell is calling on the city to expand the police department’s body camera policy to include all detectives working within the department.
Russell made the suggestion during Monday night’s Jamestown City Council meeting, saying he felt such a move would provide greater transparency between the police department and the public.
“Right now they do not wear body cameras and the only people wearing body cameras are uniform police officers, and they have to be on when they have contact with the public,” Russell explained to his colleagues. “I think it’s imperative at the police department that we have transparency. Our detectives wearing body cameras when they have contact with the public would further show that we are being transparent and have nothing to hide from the public.”
Russell added that having detectives wear body cameras would also provide additional evidence in situations where someone makes accusations against the police based on an interaction that has taken place.
Acting Jamestown Police Chief Tim Jackson said he supports the idea 100%, adding that currently there are about 10 detectives in the police department who are currently not required to wear a body camera. In addition, there is also a lieutenant and captain that would also wear one.
Just like city patrol officers, the detectives would turn on their body cameras whenever they interact with a member of the public, except in cases that deal with sensitive situations, such as a drug informant who is cooperating with an investigation.
City Attorney Elliot Raimondo says the updated policy would be contingent on the current contract language in the collective bargaining unit. The cost of purchasing new body cameras would also have to be considered before the policy could go into effect.
The city first instituted body cameras for the Jamestown Police Department in the fall of 2015 after the city council approved a resolution mandating all uniformed officers wear the devices.