Hartford city councilors unanimously approved paying for 325 body-worn cameras and 75 in-car cameras for police during a special Hartford City Council meeting Thursday,
The $1.8 million cost, which covers equipment, software, licenses, cloud storage, and a full-term warranty, will be paid over five years and about $750,000 of that will be reimbursed by the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management. OPM is offering a reimbursement program for the purchase of body cameras with a deadline for June 30, 2018.
The council addressed questions about how the cameras would operate, saying officers won't be able to turn the cameras off and that they're activated through smart triggers.
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"Those triggers can be applied to opening the doors, the light bar on top of the roof, braking, going into the trunk and pulling out the shotgun," said Councilor James Sanchez.
"It's a matter of proof and who is telling the truth. So I think, in a lot of ways, it will protect our residents and officers too," said Hartford resident Hyacinth Yennie.
While the city council approved the cameras, councilors postponed purchasing 200 Tasers that integrate with the camera system. Hartford's mayor wrote in the resolution that "currently, more than half of the department's Tasers are inoperable."
Councilors say they postponed the Taser purchase because more discussion needs to take place regarding how they're used.
"These are public policies that need to be discussed. I'm delighted to see them take a moment, discuss it, and make an amendment and vote on it," said Hartford resident Alyssa Peterson.
The police union released a statement saying "Body worn cameras will be implemented after a full review period and the Hartford Police Union having significant input in the process."
Councilmembers want to hold a meeting to allow the public to see the camera system in action. No date has been set for that.