STORRS, Conn.(WTNH) — Right now, seven UConn police officers have been outfitted with body cams. They’re the first ones to put the cameras to use on the force. The police department wants to work out all the kinks right now before they issue them to all 81 officers department-wide.
From adjustable viewpoints, to wide-angle lens, there haven’t been many bumps in the road. A new law mandates that all state police officers and troopers must be wearing body cameras by July 2016. The university is out in front, already implementing the cameras and every uniformed officer from the chief on down will have to wear one.
Officer Cara Momnie has been wearing the camera for a week now.
“People notice it and they want to know what it is and how it works and if you’re recording. People are more curious than they are worried about it,” said Momnie.
Her partner, Officer Zach Ledyga, says nowadays everyone has a camera in their pocket attached to their phone. Body cameras will allow a different point of view; the officer’s point of view and tell the officer’s story.
“The citizens will be able to see our view as with everybody else’s and their cell phones, ours will have good quality as well,” said Ledyga.
And while the University Police Department welcomes the cameras and the transparency they will bring, Deputy Chief Hans Rhynhart says it is not an end-all be-all to crime-fighting. At the end of the day, it is just another tool on their law-enforcement belt.
“It is a tool, tools break and tools don’t always work the way they’re supposed to work. So, we have contingency plans in place to provide additional cameras if need be,” said Rhynhart.
In all, they looked at about a half a dozen body cameras, but they said this one works the best in their eyes because it also worked with the systems they already have in the cruisers.