The nation's largest police force suffered a major setback to its body camera program Sunday after one of them blew up. Officials said Sunday that use of 2,990 Vievu-brand LE-5 cameras has been suspended because of the incident in a Staten Island station house, NBC News reports. Police say the officer was on his way out for a midnight shift early Sunday when he noticed smoke coming out of the device, NY1 reports. It exploded after he removed it from his shirt but the officer wasn't injured, police say. The explosion "revealed a potential for the battery inside the camera to ignite," police say.
"Equipping the NYPD with the best equipment is a paramount priority," a police spokeswoman said in a statement. "All officers assigned LE-5 cameras were instructed to immediately remove the cameras and bring them back to their commands." The camera is in use in 19 precincts across the city. The NYPD, which had planned to outfit all 23,000 officers with body cameras by the end of December, has deployed 15,500 so far. The earlier LE-4 model is not affected by the recall, police say. The New York Times reports that controversy erupted over the contract for the Vievu cameras in 2016 when it emerged that other forces had complained about their quality. (This Denver officer was charged with theft after investigators reviewed his body camera footage.)