The Dover Police Department appears on track to be wearing new body cameras by summer.
A body worn camera program received unanimous committee approval earlier this week and now heads to City Council for final approval.
The five year program includes 70 Axon Body 3 cameras, 85 new T-7 tasers and virtual reality de-escalation training for all officers.
Dover PD outlined a series of criminal justice reforms and initiatives in June 2020. They were all met by December, except for the body camera program. Sgt. Mark Hoffman said the department is excited to finally check that last box.
“Given the nature of policing and the demands of the public on policing, we felt that not only was it a suitable fit from the body worn camera perspective, but with the other equipment and the training that are going to be going with it, it was kind of a no brainer for us,” Hoffman said.
The additional training covers various scenarios, including several involving mental illnesses and disabilities.
“Not only is the department moving forward on this and they’re excited about it but, the men and women who work for the department and are represented by a union, they’re all collectively excited by this and are endorsing policy in this program as well," Hoffman said. "And I think it’s important to show that the officers are buying into this. It's something that they’ve been really screaming for for years and it’s finally coming through.”
Sgt. Hoffman expects quick approval from City Council - allowing the program to start sometime in July with the new fiscal year.