Police body camera (168269)

Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose and Panasonic Systems Communications Company launched the body-worn and dashboard camera pilot program for the Newark Police Division Wednesday.

The program, comprising 80 body-worn cameras and 15 dashboard cameras, aims to increase transparency by allowing interactions between police and citizens to be recorded. The program was made possible through a donation of cameras from Panasonic, whose North American headquarters are in Newark.

The cameras are a result of an agreement after a federal investigation by the Department of Justice found that Newark police officers used excessive force and unjustly used “stop-and-frisk” while policing.

In October 2016, Newark city officials announced that by 2018, all officers will have body cameras.

“The public will have more confidence and trust in the police knowing that their encounters with the police are being recorded,” Ambrose said last year. “By recording police-citizen encounters, a permanent and accurate account of what transpired is memorialized.”