The LE-5 cameras made by Seattle-based Vievu will be removed from 16 commands around the city. An officer in Staten Island reported seeing smoke coming from the bottom of the device and removed it from his uniform. Once removed, the device exploded.
The New York Police Department is pulling a type of body camera that its officers wear after one unit began smoking and then burst into flames, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nearly 3,000 LE-5 cameras made by Seattle-based Vievu will be removed from 16 commands around the city, said police spokeswoman Devora Kaye. An officer in Staten Island on Saturday reported seeing smoke coming from the bottom of the device and removed it from his uniform. Once removed from the officer’s chest, the device exploded. The officer wasn’t injured and the cause of the defect is being investigated, but the incident revealed a potential for the battery inside the camera to ignite. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our officers, and equipping the NYPD with the best equipment is a paramount priority,” Kaye said.
Some 12,510 remaining cameras will continue to be used by officers as required. NYPD officers are required to activate a body camera when making arrests, during a home search or when interacting with crime suspects. The cameras have been in a pilot phase since December 2014, after a federal judge ordered the NYPD to start a body-camera pilot project for its officers in ruling that its use of the so-called stop-and-frisk program disproportionately affected minorities and was unconstitutional. Every patrol officer is expected to wear a camera by the end of 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said. In 2016, Vievu won a $6.4 million, five-year contract to supply the body cameras to the NYPD. A spokeswoman for Axon, which acquired Vievu in May, said the company is working with the NYPD to investigate this issue. In addition to New York City, Vievu provides cameras to police departments in Miami; Phoenix; Oakland, Ca.; and Aurora, Co.