© 2024 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
PBS. NPR. Local Perspective.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pittsfield police delay testing body cams due to union concerns

A police vehicle outside the Pittsfield, Massachusetts police station.
Nancy Eve Cohen
A police vehicle outside the Pittsfield, Massachusetts police station.

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts, police department had planned to start testing body cameras this month, but it has been delayed because of issues raised by police unions.

The department's goal was to test two different camera brands and choose one before the end of the year. But at a city council meeting Tuesday, Captain Gary Traversa said the testing has been paused because of concerns the police unions have. He didn't say what the issue is or whether it was raised by the patrolmen's union, the police supervisors' union or both.

In an interview with NEPM earlier this month Traversa said both police unions were "very positive" about the cameras.

City Councilor Earl Persip III said he is disappointed the process is delayed.

"When we hear of a negative experience with police, it's always police side versus citizen side and now hopefully we'll have a recorded interaction so we can understand what's going on out there," Persip said.

Mayor Linda Tyer said the testing will not go forward until the issues raised by the unions are resolved.

In March, when a Pittsfield police officer fatally shot 22-year old Miguel Estrella there was no body camera video.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
Related Content