Police plan to test body cameras from several vendors this summer, with the goal of equipping all officers next year.
Department and town leaders have embraced the utility and transparency of the officer-worn cameras, Mayor Marcia Leclerc and police spokesman Lt. Josh Litwin said Friday.
“I think it will make our jobs easier,” Litwin said.
Litwin noted that citizen recording of police officers already is widespread, and those smart phone videos can be valuable not only to expose wrongdoing by officers, but also to support cops’ accounts of confrontations and interactions.
A former internal affairs investigator, Litwin said some of his IA reports would have been much shorter if video recordings had been available. Also, body cam videos will prove important in criminal prosecutions, Litwin said.
A department committee representing all ranks and all divisions, including police union leaders and civilian staff members, has met with leading vendors and is developing a department policy on the cameras, Litwin said. This summer, police expect to equip a few officers with vendor-supplied cameras and evaluate the different brands in the field, he said.
Because of the amount of digital data, storing the videos is a major technical and cost issue. East Hartford has 126 sworn officers, and state law requires all video footage to be stored for at least 60 days. Department leaders, Litwin said, will have to decide whether to save the data on site or use a vendor’s cloud storage.
Leclerc’s recommended capital improvement budget for fiscal year 2017-18 included $137,000 in annual financing for…
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