(WTNH) — Less than one year from now, all local police departments will be required to equip their officers with body cameras. One department is completing the task well before the deadline.
Hartford Police have completed the second and final phase of equipping their personnel with cameras, meaning all officers in the city now have body cameras.
”From the chief right on down to patrol officers, all of our members of the department will be issued a camera,” said Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody.
In phase one back in 2019, the department brought in a total of 325 body cameras, covering the majority of uniformed patrol operations divisions. These divisions interact with the public the most.
Phase two consists of an additional 150 body-worn cameras, bringing the total to 475.
Thody said the goal is to increase transparency and trust between the public and the department.
“We review these recordings on a regular basis. Every use of force, the body one camera is reviewed through the chain of command. We have a sergeant that’s assigned to the police academy that reviews these use of forces and reviews the footage regarding these use of forces so we can adjust training,” Thody said.
The police accountability bill requires that all police officers are equipped with body cameras, although not until July of next year. Thody acknowledged there was some trepidation at first but not anymore.
“There was resistance. Officers, the union. Now that we have them, a lot of our officers won’t go out there without them,” Thody said.
“We embrace this as a city,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “Our department embraced it because we embrace transparency. Effective law enforcement is based on a relationship of trust.”
The 150 new body cameras cost approximately $200,000 with another $175,000 in licensing and cloud storage costs that were paid for with city funds.