Federal funding will bring new body cams to Wilkinsburg Police Department

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With the old technology, officers had to push their body camera and wait for the red light before it began recording.

“As soon as the first officer would activate it, it would activate everybody’s camera,” said Wilkinsburg Detective Doug Yuhouse.

Now, updated body cameras will automatically turn on when an officer draws their weapon, it will then trigger other responding officers’ cameras to also begin recording, and all the footage captured will be live-streamed back to commanders.

“One person sees it from their perspective another person sees it from their perspective that body camera is not going to lie,” Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman.

It’s a new technology that Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman said will help protect residents in her borough, hold officers accountable, and build trust. But for a small department, the new cameras come with a big price tag, one that federal dollars will now cover.

“[It’s] a long time coming but it was worth the wait,” said Wilkinsburg Mayor Dontae Comans as he graciously accepted new funding for the police department.

“I am proud that Senator Fetterman and I secured $514,000 for the Wilkinsburg police department to buy updated body cameras to help their important work to keep this community safe,” said Congressman Chris Deluzio.

Rep. Deluzio and Sen. John Fetterman worked to secure more than $500,000 so that Wilkinsburg PD could receive 24 new body cameras along with new surveillance infrastructure.

“More resources that turn into a safer community that’s a fact,” said Senator Fetterman.

Fetterman, a former mayor of Braddock, expressed his funding frustrations running a similar-sized department during his tenure and said he is happy to now be able to bring federal dollars back to the region to help local departments.

Chief Coleman said the new body cameras will be available in the upcoming months.

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