EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- The East Haven Police Department could soon be keeping a closer eye on its officers. This comes after a federal probe that resulted in the arrest of four patrolman for allegedly harassing Latino residents and business owners.
Now the town will be installing dashboard cameras in the police cruisers.
A fatal crash involving a Milford police cruiser and a close call involving another officer almost hit during a traffic stop are all caught on camera: dashboard cameras. Now East Haven police, some of whom were caught on another type of camera allegedly harassing Latino residents and business owners, are getting cameras in their cruisers. A move they welcome, protection for the officers and others.
"It also helps prevent frivolous liability. People who make claims that just don't happen," said Sgt. Dave Emerman, East Haven PD. "This is a perfect way to capture it on tape and see what really happened. So I think the officers are really looking forward to it."
"I can only imagine what the cost is to the taxpayers," said Jimbo Gioia, of East Haven.
Gioia calls the dash cams a necessary evil. The town council approved $115,000 to install them in 16 cruisers now and two more later.
"It is like an insurance policy to protect officers and the people too because there has been so many stories of all the brutality, so I think it works both ways," said Gioia.
The cameras are also welcomed by officers because they're another tool in helping them do their jobs. They'll be mounted right on the dashboard and will capture any activity happening right in front of the car, and whatever is on tape is evidence.
And that could help them make their case in court.
"They're going to capture criminal activity as well," said Sgt. Emerman. "Motor vehicle stops, any other thing that they're pointing at they're going to capture, so that will probably be a benefit in prosecutions as well."
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