Hazleton Police Department raising money for body cameras

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Hazleton Police Department is raising money in hopes to purchase a new tool for their officers.

The department has recently made a plea to city council and the Hazleton community to help purchase body cameras. Currently the Hazleton City Revitalization funds have been allocated to purchase the body cameras. But the department is still a couple thousand dollars short and they are hoping the community will continue to support them to purchase this vital tool.

“It’s to protect everyone, not only the city, the officers, the community, it’s everyone as a whole,” acting police chief Brian Schoonmaker said.

In light of the current climate Schoonmaker is looking to advance his department’s technology.

“With the protests, the rioting, just trying to find ways to alleviate some of the liability from the city and prove that they are doing their job and they are doing their job well,” Schoonmaker said.

In the last couple of months, the Hazleton Police Department has begun a new project, raising money for police body cameras. Specifically, the Axon Body 3.

“The initial start up for us would be just about $54,000,” Schoonmaker said.

That’s the cost for purchasing 35 cameras “which would be more than enough to cover our patrol division,” Schoonmaker said.

The funding would also cover required software updates and the equipment needed to download and store video files.

The police department has about 75 percent of the funding allocated for the body cameras, only needing to raise about $15,000. There are several different ways to help.

You can contact the mayor’s office or drop off a donation in a drop box located in City Hall and the city water authority.

Mugs can also be purchased for $12. They are able to be purchased by contacting the mayor’s office or going to Mayor Jeff Cusat’s Facebook page.

All money collected will go directly to purchasing the body cameras. The police department hopes to make the purchase by the end of the year.

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