The Gettysburg Borough Council Monday focused on body cameras for police officers and enhanced collaboration with neighboring departments.
Council members expressed support for Gettysburg Police Chief Robert Glenny’s proposal that the borough lease 10 body and two vehicle cameras for just under $8,000 annually for three years.
The cost would include offsite data storage sufficient to retain videos for 90 days prior to deletion, including those recorded by two car cameras already owned by the borough, Glenny said.
That amount of time is “prudent,” and would allow enough time to preserve videos needed as evidence on discs or borough-owned devices, he said.
Also included would be software and docking devices that would automatically upload data, Glenny said.
The system is sophisticated enough to turn on car and body cameras automatically when a police car’s lights are activated, he said.
Because use of body cameras is “an inevitability” in today’s climate, Glenny said he has already developed a detailed policy for their use, which would be available with other policies to officers on their smartphones or other devices.
No formal action occurred during the workshop session, but council members expressed support for the lease, which President Susan Naugle called “reasonable.”
Earlier this month, the council earmarked funds for the lease while dividing 2018’s budget surplus of $135,715 among various projects. The surplus resulted primarily from increased parking revenues, Borough Manager Charles Gable said.
Glenny said he may reach out to service organizations for assistance with the cost of cameras.
Also, Glenny said he and Cumberland Township Police Chief Donald Boehs have talked about updating the mutual aid agreement between the two departments.
The current document, barely two pages long, dates to 1981 and falls far short of legal language now required to permit officers to make arrests in both jurisdictions, he said.
The proposed agreement is modeled on one in place in Centre County, Glenny said. He formerly served as an officer in that area, which includes State College.
The Centre County agreement is particularly effective in regard to interdepartmental collaboration at large-scale pre-planned events, Glenny said. For that reason, he said he would like to have it in place by Remembrance Day, Nov. 19, which marks the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.
The council would have to pass an ordinance to formalize the agreement, Glenny said.
Members expressed support for the idea.
“It’s important that this kind of thing be formalized,” Wesley Heyser said.
The proposed pact with Cumberland is designed to facilitate the addition of other municipalities, Glenny said.
“We’re working on it countywide” in the wake of a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, Glenny said. That ruling related to driving-under-the-influence checkpoints conducted jointly by multiple departments, he said.