New Device Turns on Cop’s Body Cam when Gun is Drawn

In an effort to keep better tabs on its police officers’ encounters with lawbreakers, one New Jersey police department will soon be using a new device that automatically turns on a cop’s body cam when his or her weapon is drawn.

The Cherry Hill Police Department on Wednesday unveiled its new “signal sidearm,” a tiny Bluetooth device that attaches to an officer’s gun holster. When the officer removes the gun, the sensor sends out a signal that turns on the body camera — as well as all other body cams within a 30-foot radius, according to Cherry Hill Police Chief William Monaghan.

At $45,000, the new devices — which will be put into use beginning next year — are far from inexpensive; but Monaghan says the price tag doesn’t compare to the trouble they’ll help avoid. “You can’t put a price tag on the value of a human life,” he says. “The price of litigation to the taxpayer could be extremely high.”

Should these sensors be required for all police departments in the U.S.? Are there any downsides to using them?

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