West Earl supervisors vote unanimously to approve body cameras and mobile video recorders for the police department | Community News

When: Meeting of West Earl supervisors, January 24, in the absence of supervisor Dale Wissler.

What happened: The board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of six mobile video recorders to be installed inside West Earl’s police cars and 15 body cameras, one for each officer.

The cost: Police Chief Eric Higgins said he budgeted $42,000 to purchase the camera in Budget 2022 with a final cost of $41,665 including server software.

To go out: The implementation of mobile and body cameras will take place by March or April, according to the chief. Higgins said he used similar Digital Ally equipment when he was a chef in New Jersey, calling it good due to its familiarity.

Details: Vice President John Ford asked if software was needed for the cameras and how long the footage would be retained. Higgins responded to Ford by saying the police department’s retention plan “will exceed all state requirements.” Ford also asked if the township should pass an ordinance to allow the use of the body camera, with Higgins answering no. The chief said in a Feb. 2 phone call that the state wiretapping law, which otherwise requires permission to use recording devices, exempts body camera use by policemen. The police department has 5 terabytes on its expandable server to store camera footage. Video of “sensitive” cases will be burned onto a DVD and placed as evidence.

Quotable“Everyone behaves better – officers and the public,” Higgins said, adding that the cameras have a de-escalating effect and provide transparency with the community.

Police promotion: Supervisors voted unanimously to promote police officer Jordan Byrnes to detective, replacing Dawn Ray who was promoted to sergeant. The promotion will take effect on January 29.

Tribute banners: Cedar Avenue resident Ray Yecker asked council if the township would consider hanging military tribute banners on telephone poles. He said New Holland, Ephrata Borough and Conestoga Township had the banners and thought West Earl should consider the idea. President Dave Thornton said it was a “great idea”. He said Main Street would be an “opportunity location” for the banners where the township is currently working on revamping the sidewalks.

And after: Supervisors will meet at 7 p.m. on February 14 at the Township Building, 157 West Metzler Road, Brownstown.

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