Cold Spring Police Consider Body Cameras

body camera

Officers can wear body cameras, such as this device made by Axon, on their chests but there are also models that fit on a shoulder lapel, sunglasses or hat.

Officer-in-charge suggests four shared devices

The officer-in-charge of the Cold Spring Police Department said on Tuesday (Aug. 10) he is researching the price and feasibility of having officers wear body cameras.

Larry Burke told the Village Board that while he would like to equip each of his officers, who work part-time, they could share four devices.

Deputy Mayor Marie Early, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Mayor Dave Merandy, questioned whether the cameras would be worth the investment. A number of pricing options were discussed; each camera could cost in the range of $4,200 to $4,700, with data retention and warranties adding up to $5,200 to the annual expense.

Burke said the cameras would help provide transparency, contribute to officer safety and be useful to settle disputes over officers’ behavior.

Trustee Kathleen Foley pointed out that in a community survey conducted this spring as part of a review mandated across the state of law enforcement operations, 49 percent of residents said body cameras were the priority among the items they would like to see purchased for the department.

Burke said he would explore ways to reduce costs, including grants or making the purchase in partnership with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.

Burke also addressed complaints posted on Facebook alleging that officers had been “selective” about whom they ticketed at the Putnam County Wine & Food Fest held at Mayor’s Park on Aug. 7 and 8.

“We do not selectively issue summonses,” he said, adding that some of the complaints dealt with offenses that occurred outside the village and the department’s jurisdiction.

Burke also took exception to claims that parking enforcement agent Nico Dellavalle, who has worked with the Police Department for several summers, patrols only Main Street.

“He has been all over the village writing summonses,” Burke said. “He is a great young man, does good work and takes a lot of heat for somebody who is not an active law enforcement officer.”

In his monthly report to the board, Burke said officers had responded to 66 calls for service in July and issued 55 parking and 13 traffic tickets. They made no arrests.

In other business…

■ The board decided not to increase the fees for permits created by the recent passage of regulations to host short-term rentals. The application fee is $50, the permit fee is $250 and the annual fee for a permit for two rentals of up to seven days each is $100.

■ A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 at Village Hall to hear comments on updated village code chapters dealing with zoning, noise, signs and placards, and subdivision of land, and a new chapter on unsafe buildings.

■In her monthly report, Ruthanne Cullinan Barr, who chairs the Recreation Commission, said its members want to focus on increasing the recreational use of Mayor’s Park. Trevor Knight, a commission member, is developing a survey to assess interest in adult recreation programs, and the panel is working on improvements to the softball field and basketball court, a project she said would be costly. She also said the commission would soon report on events, such as the Wine & Food Fest, which are overseen by the commission. “We need to revisit if we want to have ticketed events” in parks, she said.

■ The Cold Spring Fire Co. responded to 15 alarms in July, including five activated fire alarms, two vehicle crashes, two elevator calls and an incident at Breakneck Ridge.

■ The Highway Department in July processed 53.2 tons of garbage and 24.4 tons of recyclables.

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