Dashboard Cameras for Blakely Police Officers

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A police department in Lackawanna County now has more eyes on the road.

New cameras have been installed in most Blakely police cruisers. The cameras are helping with traffic stops and will save the department money.

For the past three weeks Blakely police officers have had more eyes on the road and on the community.

New state-of-the-art cameras have been installed in five police cruisers.

The cameras are constantly on, and will record police activity when lights and sirens are activated.

"So the event that occurred, that going through a traffic light or stop sign, will be on camera and can be used as evidence," explained Blakely Police Chief Guy Salerno.

The borough paid $43,000 for the cameras and computer system. Salerno said they also help police officers with court cases.

"They go in front of a magistrate it's still his word against the offender's word. Now it's not anymore. A picture`s worth a thousand words," Chief Salerno said. "People aren't going to be as apt to plead not guilty to the violations when they know we've got it on video."

The Blakely chief added the new camera system is very easy to use. Once an officer returns to the station, the recorded videos are automatically sent to a computer inside and can be viewed in minutes.

The cameras helped Patrolman Jim Cotillo when a crash happened right in front of him.

"I saw the accident, but I couldn't tell whether the other driver did stop at the stop sign, so I was able to come back to the station and look at the film," Officer Cotillo said. He added the cameras can also record suspects in custody in the back seat. "If the prisoner happens to start yelling or screaming, or kicking the windows out, which has happened, it will all be on film."

The Blakely Police Department plans to install a camera in one more cruiser sometime in March.

Chief Salerno said the cameras are the same ones soon to be used by state police.