WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — In a one-on-one with News 8, Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo shared his department is closer to getting 350 body cameras for Waterbury police officers and 60 dash cams for police cars.
He hopes it sends a message to the Waterbury community.
“It certainly bolsters and lends to our transparency here at the police department,” he said.
Chief Spagnolo says they are in final negotiations with two manufacturers of the cameras and supporting storage technology.
“We are currently working with our Procurement Department to make a purchase of the body cameras and dashboard cameras to furnish the entire police department,” said Chief Spagnolo. “We’re very close. I would say within weeks.”
News8 spoke with one community activist who had this reaction to the news.
“Better late than never,” said Athena Wagner. “What took so long?”
News8 then asked that to the chief.
“What we noticed was technology was changing rapidly at the time we started looking two, two-and-a-half years ago…We wanted to take our time, make sure we’re getting the best equipment available and, of course, look for assistance on the state and federal level.”
Most police departments that don’t yet have body or dash cams cite cost as a major hurdle. The state has set aside millions of dollars to help fund them. Under the new State Police Accountability Law, every local police department has to have body cams by July 2022.
Activists clamoring for more transparency from police say body and dash cams accomplish that.
“You leave it all for one person’s word against another person’s word, and somewhere in between lies the truth,” Wagner said. “They need those cameras like, yesterday.”