Provided by Prince William County
Law enforcement officials and IT professionals from across the region recently came together at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly to take notes, listen and learn about body-worn cameras.
Prince William County Police Department Administrative Division Chief Thomas Pulaski said the “Body-Worn Camera Industry Days” expo gave police officers the chance to understand all facets of using the equipment. “The board appropriated $3 million for us to move forward with a body-worn camera project. So, in order for us to do that, we’ve got to understand the technology, how it works, the legal policy implications and the technology implications, as well.”
In April, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors allocated the funding to the Police Department to kick off a pilot program to equip 500 police officers with body-worn cameras. The department is in the early stages of defining how they will implement use of the technology, Pulaski said. “We’re forming a timeline now. First up, it’s all about the policy. What’s been learned around the country? You got to have a good solid foundation to incorporate technology. So in order to do that, you have to have a good foundation of policies and procedures in place and a good training plan.”
Pulaski said talking to people from other departments would also be of help to the Prince William Police Department. While Prince William County is still in the planning phase of using body-worn cameras, other jurisdictions may be further along in the process of developing policies, instituting pilot programs or going operational, Pulaski said.
“The purpose of the expo is to promote collaboration and communication among law enforcement agencies from around Northern Virginia and across the Eastern Seaboard,” Pulaski said. “Officers will be taking this information and bringing it back to their respective entities and moving forward … depending on their implementation plans. They’re here to take information back to the office and start developing their own policy procedures.”
Pulaski said he also expected that information gained at the expo might help officers understand how the systems work, how they might adapt to new ways of doing business and how using the systems might impact the community at large.