NYPD to use AI to review body camera footage

The New York Police Department has adopted cutting-edge AI-monitored body camera technology, marking a transformative era in policing. 

Truleo, a proprietary software, is at the forefront of this innovation, scanning police-worn body cameras for both problematic and commendable behavior and interactions.

According to Adam Scott Wandt, associate professor of public policy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, "It's able to apply AI algorithms and turn speech into transcribed text, analyze video footage, and evaluate patterns, ultimately assigning a professionalism score to the police officer. This information informs them about their behavior during specific incidents."

Truleo has stated its commitment to helping the NYPD highlight positive interactions within the community, emphasizing the potential benefits of this technology. However, it comes at a substantial cost—$50 per officer. In a department as large as the NYPD, this investment could amount to a staggering $1.5 million per month.

"It would be impossible for humans to review all the body camera footage that police capture daily. In fact, most of the footage remains unseen unless a complaint is filed or a review is necessary," Wandt said.

Paterson, New Jersey, became the first department to implement Truleo. The hope is that this technology can serve as an insurance policy while also acting as a valuable teaching tool. 

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However, some watchdog groups express concerns about the potential misuse of AI, particularly regarding privacy and surveillance.

Will Owen, the communication director for S.T.O.P., points out, "Body cams already distort reality by favoring the perspective of a police officer and combined with artificial intelligence. Truleo can capture some of the most sensitive information asked of New Yorkers during police interactions, whether their addresses or their license numbers. And suddenly, this information is collected. We don't know how it's going to be used, and it's highly concerning as a surveillance tool."

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In a statement, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) expressed its reservations, with PBA President Patrick Hendry stating, "The Department needs to discuss this pilot program with us before rolling it out, because we have serious questions about its impact on our members' privacy and the fairness of the disciplinary process. New York City police officers are already among the most heavily scrutinized employees in the world. Saddling them with A.I. surveillance is not going to help with the NYPD's recruiting woes or record-level attrition."