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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

MTPD to rollout required body-worn cameras for officers

The+release+states+the+body+cameras+will+%E2%80%9Csupplement%E2%80%9D+the+20%2C000+surveillance+cameras+officials+have+already+installed+throughout+D.C.%E2%80%99s+rail+and+bus+network
Lily Speredelozzi | Assistant Photo Editor
The release states the body cameras will “supplement” the 20,000 surveillance cameras officials have already installed throughout D.C.’s rail and bus network

The Metro Transit Police Department announced that officers will begin to carry body-worn cameras starting in April, according to a Friday release.

MTPD announced it will train and equip all officers, sergeants and lieutenants with body-worn cameras to “strengthen public safety and security efforts,” starting with two dozen officers in certain units later this month and expanding the devices to all 315 officers across each of MTPD’s three districts by the end of the summer. The release states the body cameras will “supplement” the 20,000 surveillance cameras officials have already installed throughout D.C.’s rail and bus network, the latest major metropolitan transit system to implement the cameras.

The department will roll out the body-worn cameras in a “staged approach,” first equipping “highly trained” officers in the MTPD’s Special Response Team and Tactical Operations Unit, then expanding the implementation to MTPD employees in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, the release states. 

The release states MTPD Chief Michael Anzallo said officials are “committed” to the feeling of safety and security of riders, employees and officers and the program is aiming to build trust in MTPD. He said similar body-camera programs in the region provided “important insights” that will inform the department’s rollout. 

“I am confident that the new body-worn camera program will continue to build trust and confidence in the department’s work,” Anzallo said.

Officials equipped transit police with body cameras in New York, Newark, Philadelphia and San Francisco in 2019, 2017, 2015 and 2012, respectively.

The release states officials will mount the camera, which has internal memory for video and audio storage and includes a “pre-recording” feature, on the “outer garments” of officers’ clothing to capture a forward-facing view. Officers are required to inform individuals the cameras are recording the audio and video of the situation at the beginning of any altercation, according to the release.

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded MTPD a $905,000 grant to support the program last June.

An MTPD officer shot a man armed with a knife at the Anacostia Metro Station earlier this month. A gunman shot and killed Robert Cunningham, a Metro mechanic, after injuring two others at the Potomac Ave Station on Feb. 1. Following his death, MTPD, Metropolitan Police Department and District officials announced they were increasing police presence on trains and buses by nearly 60 percent.

The department’s announcement also comes after Fairfax County Police Department Sergeant Wesley Shifflett fatally shot Timothy McCree Johnson, an unarmed Black man, at Tyson’s Corner Center last month. FCPD fired the officer after body camera and surveillance footage revealed he did not follow the department’s use-of-force policies, according to the Washington Post. 

“The MTPD’s Community Services Bureau will begin working to ensure customers are educated and informed around the deployment, protocols and use of body-worn cameras,”  the release states.

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About the Contributor
Cade McAllister, Events Editor
Cade McAllister is a sophomore double majoring in international affairs and political science from San Diego, California.  He is The Hatchet's 2023-2024 events editor.
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