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Nassau police equipping cops with body cameras

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A day after a Nassau County cop was indicted on assault charges for allegedly beating a man during a traffic stop, a group of Nassau legislators demanded Wednesday that police cars be equipped with dashboard and wearable body cameras, but police say a pilot program is already in the works.

The police camera program was disclosed through a statement in response to a press conference held by county legislators in front of police headquarters Wednesday morning. The police department’s chief spokesman, Insp. Kenneth Lack, said the agency began developing a dashboard and body camera pilot program last month as part of their “comprehensive ethics initiative.” He said they would “test and review this new technology with the assistance of two private sector companies.” Police officials offered no further details about the program or its timing and did not say why they had not previously announced the initiative. Lack did not respond to requests for comment.

At the Wednesday news conference, the elected officials, including Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams and Legislators Siela Bynoe and Carrié Solages, said they introduced a resolution Wednesday morning that would require the installation of dashboard cameras in marked and unmarked police vehicles and would also require police officers to wear body cameras. The proposal called for the department to begin using the technology – which records both audio and video – in a pilot program. Officers assigned to the First Precinct in Baldwin, the Third Precinct in Williston Park and the Fourth Precinct in Hewlett would be the first to participate in the program, Abrahams said at a news conference in front of police headquarters.

“I don’t deem it a coincidence that they announced this today after we filed our resolution,” Abrahams said in response to the police announcement. “I am glad that they are proceeding, but I hope it as comprehensive a pilot program as the bill we filed today is. We hope that together we can work out the details to ensure that real transparency and protection is brought to Nassau.”

The camera policy announcement comes just a day after a Nassau County police officer was criminally charged for allegedly beating a man during a traffic stop that was caught on video. That officer, Vincent LoGiudice, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of second-degree assault and a misdemeanor charge of third-degree assault. He remains suspended without pay.