The New Hampshire Department of Corrections (DoC) said it is deploying body-worn cameras departmentwide.

With the rollout, every sworn law enforcement officer in the department is now issued a body-worn camera, and all emergency vehicles are equipped with in-vehicle camera systems.

The New Hampshire DoC said it has become only the second state corrections department in the country to deploy body-worn cameras department-wide to all sworn law enforcement officers.

“With an unmatched commitment to safety and transparency, New Hampshire is the #1 state in the country for corrections for good reason,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “This announcement by the Department of Corrections is yet another step to ensure we continue setting the gold standard, provide transparency, and bolster public trust.”

The body-worn camera rollout began with a pilot program undertaken through a U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance federal grant awarded in 2019. According to the DoC, the grant provided technical assistance to engage a variety of stakeholders, establish departmental policy, and arrange funding to purchase 52 body-worn cameras with a total grant amount of $52,006. In addition to the Federal grant, the body-worn camera systems – including equipment and storage – are funded through state general funds at a cost of $720,000.

The department initiated the pilot deployment in July of 2023 in the Secure Psychiatric Unit and expanded rollout to the rest of the department including all corrections officers at the prisons and transitional housing units, and all investigators and probation parole officers.

“Every day, NHDOC officers come to work in a challenging environment and do extremely difficult work,” said Commissioner Helen Hanks. “The deployment of body-worn and in-vehicle cameras underscores the department’s commitment to safety and to ensure increased transparency. Deploying these cameras aims to improve overall staff and resident safety by proactively mitigating assaultive or disruptive behavior and creating a positive effect on interaction.”

To date, more than 450 body-worn cameras are deployed department-wide, and all officers and investigators are trained on how to operate the technology. All 55 of the department’s emergency vehicles are outfitted with cameras on the dashboard and/or inside the transport compartment.

Departmental policy requires that officers wear the body-worn cameras while on duty, and they must activate the cameras during reportable incidents or activities. Additionally, some automatic triggers exist including unholstering a taser or firearm, or activating emergency lights in a vehicle. The DoC noted that more automatic triggers will be added as aged equipment is updated.

The DoC worked with the New Hampshire Department of Information Technology and the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services on a competitive bidding process to select the technology provider. Ultimately, the state went with Axon Enterprise and has deployed Axon Body 3 cameras and Axon Fleet 3.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs