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DSP needs more funding to follow new recording requirements

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware State Police are seeking to consolidate various recording systems to modernize and lower costs.

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security is seeking a little under $10 million to be added to its total budget next year, most of which it says are to cover personnel costs.

Department secretary Nathan McQueen also outlined a litany of other requests, many focused on replacing outdated Delaware State Police recording systems.

McQueen says DSP needs these upgrades to ensure compliance with new state laws, including one requiring the recording of custodial interrogations.

“The current system is end of life; with outdated hardware, it does not adequately capture sound and sight,” said McQueen. “This presents challenges for storing, archiving, cataloging and chain of custody.”

And interrogation rooms aren’t the only place without dated hardware. McQueen wants over $300,000 to begin upgrading in-car cameras. All these upgrades would work together on the same platform, making it easier to store, find and share evidence.

“DSP strives to establish standard platforms by creating a total digital evidence solution that directly connects the in-car camera, taser 7 and body-worn camera,” he said.

McQueen says DSP is looking at moving entirely to the Axon platform for it’s recording devices. The in-car camera systems now come from another company, and McQueen adds they’re also approaching their end of life.

Installing recording equipment all from the same vendor helps ensure video is captured. Recording on body cameras and in-car cameras can be automatically activated if a police officer pulls out their Axon Taser, for example.

Almost $1 million would go towards upgrading camera systems, both in the DSP and with the Capitol Police as well. McQueen says many of the Capitol Police vehicles have broken cameras, or no cameras at all.

McQueen also touched on the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. DEMA hopes to allocate a million to the Delaware Resilience Fund, which provides grants towards local natural disaster recovery.

The fund was created last year after a series of heavy storms and tornadoes hit that August, and DEMA seeks to add money for future storms.

Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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