An NYPD pilot project that will eventually outfit 1,000 beat officers with body cameras is several months behind schedule, according to the latest update from the police department's federal monitor. Court documents filed Tuesday in Manhattan [PDF] show that the NYPD has yet to pick a contractor for the cameras, even though the project was scheduled for implementation this fall. The approval process is expected to take four-to-six months, and ordering and delivery will take longer still.
"The [body camera] procurement process is taking longer than the NYPD initially anticipated," wrote Peter Zimroth, the NYPD's court-appointed federal monitor, in a status report this week. "The Department currently foresees choosing a vendor in mid- to late August 2016. It then estimates an additional four to six months before a contract is officially registered."
"Once a contract is in place, delivery will not be instant, as the vendor will have to prepare and deliver cameras and software to meet NYPD specifications," he added.
Zimroth said that the NYPD received 50 proposals from different body camera manufacturers last September, a larger-than-anticipated applicant pool. He said that the NYPD is carefully assessing the cost of implementation.
The NYPD plans to pick its vendor in the coming weeks, and will then seek approvals from city departments and agencies including the Mayor's Office of Contract Services, the Mayor's Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Investigation, the Deputy Mayor, and the Comptroller's office.
The NYPD's body camera pilot program debuted on a much smaller scale in December 2014, as part of the five-year oversight and reform plan outlined in the landmark federal stop-and-frisk trial, Floyd v. City of New York. That winter the NYPD outfitted a handful of officers in one precinct per borough—specifically, precincts with the highest concentration of stop and frisks.
A public survey on the NYPD's proposed body camera policy closed on August 7th, and the results are expected this fall. Respondents were asked to weigh in on how often body cameras should record—during home searches, stop and frisks, traffic stops—and when they should be turned off.
The survey also asked how and when body camera footage should be made available to the public. Currently, civilians and the media have to file a FOIL request for body camera footage under most circumstances—a frustrating and largely fruitless endeavor.
Last week a group of protesters calling for the abolishment of the NYPD took up occupation of City Hall Park, decrying what they deem inadequate police reform efforts.
"We fight for the abolition of policing and prisons and will not be fooled or derailed by fake reforms like body cameras and so called community policing, which further increase the budget and power of the racist and brutal NYPD," the group, organized by Millions March NYC, stated.