A CNN report filed Monday said one of the body cameras exploded Saturday just before an officer was set to begin duty. The unnamed officer was wearing one of the department's Vievu LE-5 body cameras when they "noticed smoke' coming from the device, at which point the camera was removed before it eventually "exploded."
In a statement, an NYPD rep cited the device's battery as the issue and confirmed a larger investigation was underway. "The incident revealed a potential for the battery inside the camera to ignite," the rep said. "The cause and scope of the defect are currently being investigated. All officers assigned LE-5 cameras were instructed to immediately remove the cameras and bring them back to their commands. The Department is in the process of collecting and removing the LE-5 cameras from the commands now."
An estimated 2,990 of the department's 15,500 body cameras were Vievu LE-5 models. Offers who were already using LE-4 are not affected the commissioner's immediate suspension of the LE-5 devices and will, per a press release, proceed to use them "as required by the patrol guide."
While reports were quick last year to make hyperbolic claims about one study that showed little immediate effect on D.C.-area officers' behavior when equipped with body cameras, a more nuanced read of the study—like this one from the ACLU—poses more questions than answers. "There is a real tendency for policymakers' conventional wisdom to lurch from certitude to certitude based on the results of the latest study," policy analysts Chad Marlow and Jay Stanley said in their assessment of the widely publicized study.