ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The City of Rochester says a partnership with the United Christian Leadership Ministry will promote information sharing, specifically through the police department’s body-worn-camera program.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding obtained by News 8, this will entail enrolling members within the ministry in a citizen-focused training program on police procedures and the use of body-worn-cameras, expedited responses to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests, including redacted video footage of use-of-force incidents that generate citizen complaints, as well as quarterly meetings to discuss the status of the BWC program.

“We weren’t a part of this. We were left out of this, which is I think a problem when you look at it’s our members who can provide the most insight and experiencing body worn cameras and would have a lot to offer,” says Michael Mazzeo, President of Rochester Police Locust Club.

Mazzeo tells News8 there are still several unanswered questions surrounding the partnership. In December, UCLM called for City Council to approve funding for software of Chicago-based Benchmark Analytics, citing the parternship would improve police accountability.

“Did they spend some time to vet it, to see what we need that would work better? That the program that they purchased is going to take anywhere from 8 to 12 months to even integrate it with our current programs?” Mazzeo says.

RPD’s body-worn-camera program first launched in 2018, according to the city’s website. Mazzeo says he believes it’s been a rushed process, altogether, and while there may be good intentions, there are also standing concerns surrounding this partnership.

“I think the Dept. or the City is looking at this and saying, ‘ this is something we should do, we should be very transparent on it,’ and I agree with that but we can’t give the appearance that we’re just giving special privilege or something that no one else is seeing to one specific group. I mean I think that becomes a problem,” says Mazzeo.

This is a developing story. News 8 will be speaking with other stakeholders, such as UCLM and RPD. To see their side, check back with News 8 Wednesday evening.

Memorandum of Understanding: