PLEASANTVILLE — Police have added new technology to help increase community cooperation as well as monitor their own department better.
This includes an in-car camera system, an upgraded website that encourages tips from the community, and a new Facebook page.
"In an era where our officers are regularly recorded and monitored by suspects and others, this new equipment will provide us with the opportunity to record our video as well," police Chief Jose Ruiz said in a statement. "This system, designed to monitor the safety of officers and the public during rapidly evolving incidents, will increase our ability to recall vital evidence from crime scenes, quickly record suspect and witness statements, and review incidents to identify actions which reveal officers deserving of commendation."
The website, www.pleasantvillepd.org, allows the department to get tips and feedback from the community both with and without identification.
"We ask the tipsters identify themselves when possible, but the site will allow for anonymous tips," Ruiz said.
The idea to get new technology in the department had been on Ruiz's mind for some time.
"We want to be proactive," he said. "We want the officers to feel up to par and are giving them the tools to do their job."
The equipment for the cameras, which has been installed in four patrol cars, came from two state grants totaling $44,000.
Since last year, the department has seen an increase in community engagement, and a willingness to share information, Ruiz said.
"The cameras will alleviate any citizens' complaints and facilitate us anytime we need to re-create something," Mayor Jesse Tweedle said.
Ruiz said there have been times where residents will file internal affairs complaints alleging an officer was rude or acted inappropriately — and some do so anticipating a renegotiation of their summons.
But the new recording system "makes everyone accountable," Tweedle said.
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