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Image credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

NYPD pulls 2,990 body cameras after one catches fire

It might reflect a systemic problem.
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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The NYPD's plan to outfit every officer with body cameras has run into trouble. The department has pulled about 2,990 Vievu LE-5 cameras across the city after one officer's camera caught fire near a Staten Island precinct. There's a "possible product defect" with the LE-5, the NYPD said in a statement, and it was removing existing models out of an "abundance of caution." Most of the force's 15,500 cameras (including LE-4 models) aren't affected.

Axon (Vievu's parent company) told Engadget that it was partnering with the NYPD to address the situation. "We are working closely with the NYPD to investigate this issue," a spokesperson said. "The officer was not injured, however officer safety is of the utmost importance to Axon. We will do whatever is necessary to quickly and safely resolve this situation."

It's not certain whether or not there's a systemic problem with the cameras. While the NYPD suggests it might be, this could also be a one-off instance of battery damage -- a distinct possibility with any lithium-ion power pack. Either way, it's not what NYC's law enforcement wanted. The department intended to finish its body cam deployment by 2019, but it might have to push back that goal if it ends up replacing thousands of those units.

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