Staten Island, NY – The New York Police Department (NYPD) has recalled nearly 3,000 bodycams after one exploded on a Staten Island officer on Saturday night.
According to an NYPD spokesperson, the officer from the 121st Precinct “noticed there was smoke exiting from the bottom portal and immediately removed it,” the New York Daily News reported.
“After it was safely removed, the device exploded,” the spokesperson confirmed.
The officer was not injured during the incident.
According to an NYPD press release, the explosion “revealed a potential for the battery inside the camera to ignite.”
The “cause and scope of the defect” remains under investigation, the agency said.
The department has recalled all Vievu LE-5 bodycams issued to 2,990 officers across 15 precincts, as well as a housing precinct and two transit districts, the New York Daily News reported.
The same bodycam model is also used at the NYPD police academy, which was scheduled to conduct bodycam training on Monday.
That training has been canceled in light of the explosion and recall.
Police sources told the New York Daily News that other models have been problematic for officers, as well.
“The product is generally crap in all models,” a high-ranking NYPD official told the news outlet. “It’s not good in the field. They break easily.”
The power switch on many models is very sensitive, which has created difficulties in effectively recording some incidents, the official said.
Concerns about the overall quality of the LE-5 model have also been raised.
“The city’s vending process generally always goes for the cheapest vendor despite superior products elsewhere,” the NYPD source explained. “I guess you get what you pay for.”
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our officers, and equipping the NYPD with the best equipment is a paramount priority,” an NYPD spokesperson said.
Nearly 3,000 officers will not have bodycams while the department investigates the cause of the explosion.
The department’s bodycam pilot program was launched in 2017, and the agency planned to have cameras issued to each of its 22,000 patrol officers by the end of 2019, WSB reported.