Bangor PD looking to outfit force with body cams
When the Village of Bangor Board of Trustees meets on Monday, Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. to decide their 2018 budget, it could mean a better equipped police force for the community.
Chief Scott Alo is asking the village to approve about $7,000 in capital expenses to provide body cameras and active shooter kits for his three-man department.
Alo, who has led the police department for the past 18 years, is asking for three body cameras at a total cost of about $4,800 and a pair of active shooter kits at a cost of about $2,200.
The equipment may seem a little extreme for a small-town police force, but Alo says the request was made to help protect officers while also protecting the public. “It’s a form of checks and balances not only from the law enforcement side, but the public side,” said Alo.
Bangor’s two full-time officers, Nathan Ganrude, who has been with the force three years, and Brandon Kendhammer, who came in July, will wear the cameras along with the chief.
Alo said it’s been a process of first finding enough computer memory space to add the audio/video service but said the department is now set up to handle the additional data. He said officers might be checked from time to time with the devises, but said the biggest concern would be a situation where the officer is interactive with the public.
He said with cell phones being able to take videos today, he wants to protect his officers with video and audio records of their own, something that is growing quite popular among police in communities. “Sometimes the officers will have a different perspective than the public,” he said.
The chief said one of the places he finds it essential is in simple traffic stops, noting a video camera built into the front dash of the vehicle isn’t always as reliable as a body cam capable of showing much more.
He said the body cams are always on stand-by mode when worn by an officer, but said they can be activated by the speed of a squad car or in other ways automatically by just programming the task into the devise.
He said the department hopes to have the devices by the end of the year, pending board approval.
Chief Alo said he’s also asking for approval of two active shooter kits, which would be used in a situation of an active threat. He said the kit includes a heavy ballistic vest that adds to the safety of the officer in case they were ever confronted. He said the vests would be placed in each of the village’s 2017 squad cars.
He said the village police force is well equipped for a small town police force but said items purchased are justified and the board has sound budgeting practices that allow for new equipment nearly every year.
“We’re able to get what we need if we spread it out over the years,” Alo said.