The North Huntingdon commissioners tonight approved the purchase of 13 video camera systems for police cars, and four additional video systems to be mounted on police motorcycles.
The video systems will cost $44,990 over a three-year, lease-to-purchase period, township officials said.
Township police Chief Andrew Lisiecki said township police purchased one of the video camera systems three months ago, and were very impressed with how it worked.
The North Huntingdon police department's current video recording systems are kind of a hodgepodge, he said, and not all of the officers know how to use them.
The small video systems to be purchased are much less bulky than older video systems, according to Mr. Lisiecki.
He said they replace the rear view mirror and include a wireless microphone for each officer, as well as a camera to record the actions of people in the back of the police car.
John Shepherd, township manager, said North Huntingdon officials were initially concerned about the legality of officers audio taping citizens, but those concerns have been resolved.
Mr. Lisiecki said he spoke with Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck about the legality of officers audio taping people.
That taping will be handled in the following way, according to Mr. Lisiecki: the officer pulling over a vehicle will identify him or herself, tell the motorist why he or she is being pulled over, and will immediately tell the motorist the conversation is being recorded.
In cases of false complaints against officers, the video recordings would provide protection for officers by showing exactly what happened, Mr. Lisiecki said. Upon questioning, he said there have only been two complaints since he started working on May 25.
Mr. Lisiecki said he expects all of the cameras from Digital Ally Inc. to be installed on township police vehicles by the end of summer. The company is located in Lenexa, Kan.
Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: email@example.com.