Enforcement Aid

Carroll Latest Department To Purchase Body Cameras

Four body cameras will be purchased for the Carroll Police Department. The purchase was approved during a meeting of the Carroll Town Board on Wednesday. The equipment will be purchased using Stop DWI money. P-J file photo

FREWSBURG — Carroll Police Chief Bill Nelson shared his idea to use stop DWI money to pay for body cameras for the town’s police officers with the Carroll Town Board at Wednesday’s meeting.

The board members in attendance agreed with the idea and passed the proposal unanimously.

Nelson called body cameras a necessary tool for law enforcement agencies in the present day and said $1,980 would cover the cost of four cameras for the department. Stop DWI money already collected will cover the cost, and since Nelson said all DWI arrests in Carroll result in collected fines that are supposed to enhance the enforcement of local police, he said the purchasing of cameras with $1,940 of stop DWI money would be fitting.

“I look at this as enforcement,” Nelson said. “It’s the same camera that’s used by the Sheriff’s Office and the town of Ellicott. I have all that technical support. I just think now’s the time to do that.”

Nelson continued by saying that body cameras do a great deal of good for departments by providing records of arrests and evidence for court proceedings. The Carroll police chief thinks that every department will eventually have body cameras and that they’ll be an asset to the protection of the town.

Carroll Police Chief Bill Nelson discusses the benefits of body cameras to the Carroll Town Board. P-J photo by Eric Zavinski

On top of the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and Ellicott police forces (that just received cameras) equipping officers with body cameras, the Jamestown Police Department and Lakewood-Busti Police Department have also been using the technology in the Southern Tier.

“One of the best things we ever did was get body cameras,” Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Bentley said regarding the past couple years of body camera use in Lakewood.

Bentley said the cameras are an excellent learning tool for officers and that they have reduced personnel complaints an estimated 75 percent in Lakewood-Busti’s jurisdiction. Body cameras have also been used in Jamestown for more than three years.

“(Body cameras) are a valuable tool that help our officers perform their necessary duties,” said Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone, who noted that all south end police agencies now use the technology.

Nelson also brought up the idea to introduce a warning ticket system for drivers in the town. He said officers currently issue universal traffic tickets for all infractions and that officers could choose to issue a warning ticket for a first offense. Nelson explained that he doesn’t want to penalize good drivers who might make one mistake. After drivers receive a warning ticket, they would be entered into the system and would therefore be ineligible to receive just a warning on repeat offenses.

A body camera worn by Chautauqua County sheriff's deputies. The same model will be purchased for officers of the Carroll Police Department. Submitted photo

In other news, the planning board was approved to work on updates to the zoning code, which hasn’t been revised since 2001. There will be a public hearing on the code and potential changes held in the future.

As part of the town’s new comprehensive plan, which will be voted on in February, future members will be mobilized for a Town Community Engagement Committee in order to discuss ways to increase community pride, unity and communication.

Animal Control Officer Nick Cusimano suggested the town purchase a $320 universal microchip scanner that can be used to help find the owners of stray dogs who have chips implanted. He also plans on buying better kennels to store the dogs.

Town Clerk Tenneil Stelmack noted that the town adopted two families for Christmas and raised enough money to give seven children a wonderful holiday.