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North Adams police officers may soon begin wearing body cameras thanks to state grant

body camera on pocket of police uniform (copy) (copy) (copy)

A Great Barrington Police officer wears an Axon body camera on his uniform at the station in September. After getting a state grant, North Adams Police Chief Jason Wood is planning to start a body camera program.

NORTH ADAMS — City police officers could start wearing body cameras as soon as early next year thanks to a state grant worth nearly $100,000.

“I think that for one, it’s good for accountability. It’s good for transparency,” said Police Chief Jason Wood, who applied for the grant.

The department has not yet chosen a vendor, and Wood expects that the grant funding will cover upfront costs for about 30 cameras and software and storage costs for a few years.

Wood has met with a vendor to see the equipment, but has not gotten an official quote.

Video footage could also be helpful with internal investigations, Wood said. “In my mind, if you’re able to see a video that was taken when it happened, it can answer a lot of questions for us.”

Wood is currently drafting a policy on body cameras, which — per the $94,492 grant — must receive union approval. He does not anticipate any resistance.

The union plans to meet in the next week to review the policy and will comment afterward, said David Sherman, a police detective and president of the union that represents city police.

In Pittsfield, union contract negotiations stalled starting a body camera program, but Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said earlier this week that the program was moving forward.

If the rollout goes as planned in North Adams, every officer will have a camera by early next year, Wood said. The funds North Adams received are part of $2.5 million in recently announced state funding for police body cameras. Other Berkshire police departments that received funding include Pittsfield, Dalton, Cheshire and Williamstown.

Earlier this fall, Great Barrington officers started wearing body cameras. It was the first municipal department in the county to do so. Williamstown has also been discussing a program.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6272.


Greta Jochem, a Report for America Corps member, joined the Eagle in 2021. Previously, she was a reporter at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. She is also a member of the investigations team.

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