Cumberland police officers will start wearing body cameras as early as February.

The body cameras, along with four replacement in-car cameras and 13 replacement Tasers, have been included in a five-year contract that was approved by a vote of 6-0 Dec. 13, with Councilor Michael Edes absent.

The police department will add $33,000 to its annual budget of about $1.6 million over the next five years to pay for the equipment. The contract includes unlimited cloud storage for video, hardware and software warranties and in-car camera installation.

Each of the department’s 13 members, including the animal control officer, will be outfitted with a new body camera. All officers will also receive stun guns.

Cumberland officers have never worn personal cameras, according to Cumberland Police Chief Charles Rumsey, and his department has been looking into acquiring them since 2020 in an effort to be up-to-date with modern technology.

The department includes Rumsey, four sergeants, a detective, six patrol officers and an animal control officer.


According to Rumsey, department policy will require officers to manually turn their cameras on for all calls. The only exceptions will be if an officer is in a private residence and a citizen, such as a victim of sexual assault, specifically asks not to be recorded. Body cameras will be automatically activated if an officer draws a firearm or Taser.

Rumsey hopes that having officers outfitted with body cameras can help during mental health calls and other tense situations. If there’s video footage of a mental health call that could have been handled better, then “there’s an opportunity for coaching and mentoring,” he said.

“If a supervisor reviews footage of a call and sees that it was a difficult call or a critical incident involving some sort of exposure that an officer may be expected to have a tough time processing and dealing with, then their supervisor will be in a good position to reach out to that officer, make sure they’re OK and see if there’s anything the department can do to support them,” Rumsey said.

The Tasers and in-car cameras will replace equipment that has become outdated, according to Rumsey.

“We constantly monitor the technology we’ve been interested in acquiring. We have to look down the road. Ten, 15, 20 years from now, everyone’s going to have this technology,” Rumsey said. “It came time for us to replace our Tasers.  … The pricing was reasonable, so it made sense.”

The use of Tasers by Cumberland police officers has decreased since 2019. That year, Tasers were deployed three times, compared to once in 2020 and once in 2021. Arrests in Cumberland have also been trending downwards. There were 113 arrests in 2019, 45 in 2020 and 22 in 2021. Rumsey said the dip in arrests is a result of the COVID pandemic.


The Tasers and cameras will be covered by a five-year, $165,000 contract with Axon, a company that supplies equipment for law enforcement.

Police last year had requested funding for a $230,000, five-year contract with a different company, which was rejected by the town council, according to Council Chairperson Bob Vail.

“The police department approached us a year ago with a program that was significantly more money and not as effective,” Vail said. “It didn’t have the same tools [Axon] does, so we had said no. Then when this system came forward, the technology is better and the pricing is considerably less. There was plenty of discussion about it beforehand, but there was unanimity because now’s just the right time.”

Rumsey hopes the department will have the tasers and body cameras by February. The in-car cameras are delayed due to a combination of demand issues, supply chain issues and a shortage of installers and won’t likely arrive until fall 2022. Rumsey said the department’s current in-car cameras will continue to operate until then.

Maine has no laws requiring law enforcement to wear body cameras. Connecticut, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada and California are the only states that have varying laws that require body cameras be worn by some law enforcement officers. According to an August Portland Press Herald report, Maine State Police are pursuing a plan to outfit each trooper with a body camera, with hopes to kickstart the public bidding process for the technology in 2022. In Oct. 2019, all Portland police officers were required to wear body cameras, according to the Press Herald.

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