New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced today that his department will begin a trial of body cameras on 60 officers working in six of the New York's most violent neighborhoods. Two units will be tested: the Vievu, a clip-on camera shaped like a pager which is worn on the front of an officer's shirt, and the Taser, which The Verge profiled in a lengthy report, and is worn on the ear, glasses, collar, or shoulder.
The NYPD says that the cameras are being tested in response to the controversy over its Stop and Frisk policies, the practice of routinely stopping, questioning, and patting down civilians who officers consider suspicious but who have not committed any overt crime. Civil rights groups have challenged this policy in court, and the NYPD has recently moved to reduce the frequency of Stop and Frisk after a judge declared the practice unconstitutional.
Bratton told The Wall Street Journal he hopes the cameras will de-escalate confrontations between citizens and police and put an end to the "'he said, she said' controversy." The Taser is designed to be continuously recording video, in 30-second segments, without audio. An officer can tap it to trigger longer recording. The Vievu is designed to only begin recording when an officer slides the shutter up on the camera lens.