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NYPD Suspends Use of Nearly 3,000 Bodycams After 1 Explodes

New York Police Department Officer Joshua Jones demonstrates how to use and operate a body camera during a press conference on Dec. 3, 2014 in New York City. (Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

New York Police Department Officer Joshua Jones demonstrates how to use and operate a body camera during a press conference on Dec. 3, 2014 in New York City. (Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The New York Police Department has suspended the use of almost 3,000 body cameras after one of the devices exploded over the weekend, the department said.

An NYPD officer on Staten Island retrieved a Vievu LE-5 body camera Saturday, noticed smoke rising from the device and took it off before it exploded, the department said in a statement Sunday.

No one was injured in the incident, which happened before the officer began duty, the NYPD said.

“The incident revealed a potential for the battery inside the camera to ignite,” the department’s statement said. “The cause and scope of the defect are currently being investigated.”

According to NYPD, 2,990 of the 15,500 body cams in use by police officers were the LE-5 models.

All officers outfitted with LE-5 cameras have been asked to immediately discontinue use and return them to their commands. For the time being, those officers will not be equipped with body cameras, the NYPD told CNN.

Other body cameras manufactured by Vievu remain in service.

The NYPD has been phasing in body cameras since April 2017.

Before Saturday’s incident, officers in 18 of the city’s 77 precincts had not yet been issued body cameras.

The department has stated that it aims to equip patrol officers with body cameras in all city precincts, transit districts and public housing by the year’s end.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our officers and equipping the NYPD with the best equipment is a paramount priority,” the NYPD said.

A spokesperson for Vievu’s parent company, Axon, told CNN on Monday that the manufacturer was “working closely with the NYPD to investigate this issue.”

“Officer safety is of the utmost importance to Axon,” said company spokesperson Carley Partridge. “We will do whatever is necessary to quickly and safely resolve this situation.”