City also Secures $293,000 per Year Grant to Hire Two Additional Social Workers at Police Department
(MEDFORD)—Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn and Medford Police Chief Jack Buckley signed a 5-year contract for $330,000 last week with Motorola Solutions to equip the entire 100-person department with body-worn cameras.
Body-worn cameras improve accountability for officers and allow them to better interact and communicate with the public. The cameras are also instrumental in providing comprehensive training and review for officer interactions and support officer and public safety.
Once delivered in the Spring, the department will begin training officers on policy and use, with implementation tentatively scheduled to begin this fall. In 2017, the City engaged with the Police Union on this issue and both agreed on its benefits which paved the way for this contract.
“I see the implementation of body-worn cameras as a benefit for the community, our city and our police department,” said Chief Buckley. “Body-worn cameras will serve to improve accountability, improve the quality of face-to-face interactions among police officers and the public, improve the department’s response to citizen complaints, provide for valuable training and review of officer interactions and support both officer safety and health and the safety and health of all who interact with the police.”
With this program, the City and police department are strengthening relationships within the community and building trust and legitimacy with residents. This commitment to building partnerships with the public will help to continue to transform the department and its partners into a more responsive, equitable and efficient body. The accountability that the technology of body-worn cameras provides to a community can only serve to enhance procedural justice and thus increase police legitimacy.
“Our police department has made a concerted effort to improve the way it interacts and communicates with the public,” Mayor Lungo-Koehn said. “These body-worn cameras are an important tool for building public trust, strengthening community relationships and fairly conducting public safety operations. I am thrilled that the city is able to bring this technology to the department and add to the City’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”
The City has also secured an increase to its 10-year DMH grant to nearly $300 thousand per year to hire a second and third social worker within the department to help with community relations and procedures. Along with the two additional hires, the grant will cover funds for additional de-escalation training for officers in 2022 and for data analysis of the work being done. This past November, the police department hired its first full time clinician. The additional funds obtained through this DMH grant will allow the department to hire two (2) additional clinicians to aid the department Behavioral Support Unit’s efforts to increase response to calls that involve individuals with behavioral health challenges.