Not a single Boston police officer volunteered to participate in a pilot program to introduce body cameras to the city's police department, so the body cameras will be assigned directly.
“It is a voluntary program, however, if officers don’t step up to do it or if we don’t get a sufficient amount of officers to do it, we’re going to be putting them out there on officers,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told the Boston Herald. “We’re making this a directive. They have to wear them.”
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans will now assign individual police officers directly. But Boston Police Patrolman’s Association President Patrick Rose said that's not fair because a deal reached between the police union and the city stipulated that body camera program participants had to volunteer -- and if nobody volunteers, nobody should be forced to.
“To require non-volunteers to participate in the program would clearly violate the agreement,” Rose told the Boston Herald. “The BPPA would hope that the City and the Department would honor its written agreement with the BPPA concerning [body cameras].”
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the program will include approximately five percent of the Boston Police force, and will require officers to wear the body cameras for six months. After the six months, the participants will receive a $500 bonus and the footage will be reviewed before the city decides whether to create a city-wide body camera program.
But Boston cops have been cold on the idea of wearing body cameras, which have become a hot topic since the widespread prevalence of police shootings have become a national topic.
“From the top of the leadership on down [the BPD] have never been fully committed to body cameras so it doesn't surprise us that the everyday average officer is not fully in support of the program,” Segun Idowu, co-organizer of the Boston Police Camera Action Team, told the Christian Science Monitor.
“It is also a bit confusing because we have spoken to a number of officers who support the use of body cameras and want them because they want people to see the good work they do," Idowu added.