WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — On Tuesday, News 8 got an inside look at the training going on at the Waterbury Police Department for new body cameras.
The cameras rolled out on Dec. 13, so some of the patrolmen are already using them. Officer Anthony Ciminera was among the first in Waterbury to get one.
He showed News 8 a video of one call he answered for a disturbance. He said having the recording helped with the description of the suspects and it also helped at a recent car crash.
“Traffic was backed up, everybody was upset, everybody was beeping, and I’m taking statements from two different drivers,” Ciminera said.
He was later able to review those statements for his report with fewer distractions while sitting in his more quiet cruiser.
The Axon camera also has back-timed recording, so when an officer turns it on or takes the gun out of its holster, which triggers the camera to turn on, the recording starts 30 seconds before that point.
“Your gun comes out, it automatically comes on because there’s a magnet here,” Ciminera explained.
Having the video start 30 seconds before the recording is triggered was helpful during a police-involved shooting in Baltimore in which the suspect is seen pointing a gun at the officer seconds before the officer hit record.
“All of this would have been lost if there was no buffer,” said Lt. Mark Russo, who taught Tuesday’s training.
Before this week’s training, 256 of the city’s 300 sworn police officers had gone through the training. These officers will be back in training again in a few months because the department is also getting dashboard cameras expected this spring.
They said the cameras are a very effective tool and help with transparency. The cameras are another tool in the fight against crime, some of which is on the rise.
“We’ve seized more guns off the street this year than we ever have before,“ said Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo.
“The body cameras are going to work to help make those cases and adjudicate those cases more efficiently and effectively I think in certain circumstances but I also think they’re going to assist in transparency in our relationship with the community,” Spagnolo said.
Ring doorbell footage from residents can be stored on the same cloud server the cameras connect to at the end of the day.