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Tonawanda Police Department considers dash cams in patrol cars

All 30 officers in the City of Tonawanda Police Department have had body cameras for the past three years, but Chief William Strassburg says he would like to consider dashboard cameras for patrol cars.

"At first I didn't think we needed them, because we had body cameras, but now I'm seriously considering putting them in patrol cars," Strassburg recently told the Council. "What brought it to light was the shooting in Cheektowaga at the Dollar General.

That incident occurred Nov. 14 when an officer located a suspect and then tackled him.

"This is a perfect example of something that wouldn't have been caught because a body camera wouldn't have been activated yet," he said.

Body cameras are only recording when an officer steps out of the car, according to Capt. Frederic Foels.

Strassburg said he would look at purchasing four cameras for the main patrol cars – not all 12 cars.

Foels said four patrol cars are "out there all the time" noting that officers patrol a city that is 3.9 square miles with 15,000 to 16,000 residents, about the size of a single precinct in Buffalo.

Strassburg said the cameras cost about $4,000 each, but the department would have to negotiate with the police union to allow dashboard cameras to be installed.


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