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As communities across the country wrestle with questions over police misconduct, law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to body cameras, which supporters say provide transparency for police actions and de-escalate potentially dangerous situations. At least 5,000 of the country’s 18,000 departments are now using or testing them, including the biggest agency of them all: the New York Police Department.

Launched six months ago by the NYPD, the department’s body camera pilot program is providing direction for police officials in determining when officers should be recording, when they shouldn’t and the times recording should be left to the officer’s discretion.

In an interview with TIME, Jessica Tisch, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of information technology, discussed the department’s plans for cameras and said it’s possible that the entire force of 35,000 officers could eventually carry them.

“I don’t see body cameras at the NYPD as a quick fix,” Tisch said. “I see it as part of a long-term, big picture strategy for how policing should work in the 21st century.”

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Write to Francesca Trianni at

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