DPS to adopt body cameras

DPS update

Chief Abe Haroon, Ferris’ new Department of Public Safety director, announced plans for implementing body cameras at last week’s Student Government Association meeting.

On Nov. 8, Haroon attended his second SGA meeting as DPS director. After introducing himself to the room, he explained that a body worn camera system will be implemented in January of 2023.

While Haroon will be finalizing this endeavor, the contract for the body cameras was signed in January of 2022. The cameras were shipped in May under the supervision of former DPS director Sherif John Allen. The cameras currently sit in a box unused. This is the chief’s second time working with body cameras in his career. He appreciates that he is not working “from the ground up.”

There is a “tremendous amount of questions” regarding the camera’s installation. The logistics of camera models, battery life, upload path and system storage all must be planned out. With a great deal of the work already done, Haroon feels confident the policy will be ready for the new semester.

Psychology sophomore Ainsley Miller values the role the body cameras will play in “keeping the facts straight” when an officer arrives on scene. She believes the cameras will ensure that officers are being held accountable, which will enforce their commitment to safety. Some students expressed worry about the financial cost of the body cameras.

A senior in the criminal justice program who wished to remain anonymous added that body cameras are there for accountability.

“When you’re in the criminal justice field, you’re on your own, and you’re expected to uphold a certain sort of stature,” one student said.

The criminal justice students also emphasized body cameras’ role in increasing safety, stating that they “provide safety for the individual and the officers.” They also explained that there is almost no other alternative policy for body cameras.