West Vincent Township is now a drop off point for the Coventry Food Pantry. They are always in need of canned goods, peanut butter, jelly, cleaning supplies, personal supplies, paper products, laundry detergent, diapers and wipes. The box is in the lobby of the Township Building. Link
Chief: camera to assist police in their duties and add a level of protection
By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
West Vincent Township police officers now have body cameras mounted to their uniforms to “assist them in their duties and add an additional level of protection.”
The initiative began at the start of October. West Vincent Police Chief Michael Swininger said it was decided last spring to “explore outfitting each police officer with a body camera” after the police department received a private donation that covered all the costs associated with the purchase.
After the law was enacted by Gov. Tom Corbett earlier this year allowing police officers to wear body cameras, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan reviewed body camera procedures. Swininger said his police department began to test and review different types of body cameras. Swininger said that “extensive” process” lasted all summer.
At the conclusion of the testing phase, the Axon camera from Taser International was selected.
“It is important to record the totality of an event, unlike phone camera videos recorded by citizens that usually capture only a small snippet of what transpired and may be misleading,” Swininger said in a news release.
“Repeatedly, police departments across America have witnessed first hand the benefits of in-car cameras,” Swininger said. “From recording field sobriety tests of impaired drivers to deadly assaults on police officers, the events were captured and recorded as they unfolded, providing invaluable evidence in the courtroom. In addition, audio and video recordings have exonerated officers falsely accused of misconduct, as well as held officers accountable for their actions.”
Body cameras add a new level of accountability and transparency, Swininger said, on “both sides of the badge.” He said the cameras will assist the officers in “their duties and add an additional level of protection.”
Swininger said he expects it will only be a matter a time before many more law enforcement agencies use body cameras.
Swininger noted that the Rialto California Police Department, which began using body cameras in 2012, has reported an 88 percent reduction in citizen complaints against police and a 60 percent reduction in use of force incidents.
“For the West Vincent Township police department, the addition of body cams is another way to build upon the confidence our residents have in their police force. In order to be effective, we must have their trust,” Swininger said. “What better way to enhance that trust and strengthen our integrity than to record the excellent police work the officers do on a daily basis? We regard the addition of body cameras as yet another way to enhance accountability, produce clear evidence, and keep our citizens safe.”
He said the body cameras will provide for the same level of accountability as in-car cameras, now applied to person-to-person contacts. With the advancements in technology, the cameras can safely be worn or mounted on police officers’ uniforms.
On Friday, October 3, 2014, the Owen J. Roberts Education Foundation presented West Vincent Township resident, Mr. Jason Owens, with the Community Service Award for 2013-2014. Mr. Owens, standing in the center of the picture, was presented the award at the fifty-yard line in Wildcat Stadium before the Owen J. Roberts and Pottsgrove football game. Mr. Owens is the owner of Patriot Buick GMC and donated a car to the school district for the driver education program, ‘Behind the Wheel’. In addition, last year he purchased a K9 for the North Coventry Police Department and assisted the East and West Vincent Police Departments with their annual Trout Fishing Rodeo held on French Creek Road.
Mr. Owens, congratulations! Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our community.