Kinsey applauds state police body-worn camera initiative, touts his legislation

HARRISBURG, Aug. 8 – The Pennsylvania State Police on Monday announced the commencement of a pilot program designed to ensure department readiness for implementing body-worn cameras.

State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., has introduced legislation in the Pennsylvania House to direct law enforcement agencies using body-worn cameras to develop official policies governing when cameras are activated and disabled, accessing the recordings, retention of recordings and redaction of recordings.

Kinsey offered the following statement on this initiative:

“It’s important that the public understands what practices and policies police officers have to follow during their duty and to be able to see it in a real-life situation can help create transparency to prevent police interactions from escalating,” Kinsey said. “I believe this initiative that the state police are taking on is a great step in the process of implementing body-worn cameras across the commonwealth.”

He added the following on how his legislation could help set policies to ensure the use of body-worn cameras works. 

“My legislation would help create the necessary policies on the use of body-worn cameras and how they go about recording interactions and display them to the public,” Kinsey said. “As legislators it is our duty to ensure that all Pennsylvanians, including our law enforcement and civilians, are protected, and given the transparency they need to feel educated and safe regarding body-worn cameras.”

The state police are running a 60-day trial run that allows them to determine best practices and policies and identify any needs for additional equipment or software features. When the pilot program concludes, the PSP plans to implement body-worn cameras at all of its 87 patrol stations.

State police entered into a five-year contract with Arizona-based Axon to provide body-worn cameras. The Carlisle station was selected as the test location because its geographic area is representative of the communities served by the Pennsylvania State Police. Additionally, the station is close to the PSP Bureau of Communications and Information Services, the bureau tasked with monitoring the pilot program, in Harrisburg.