Plan for Police Body Cameras In New Haven Moves Forward

Body cameras are a step closer to becoming part of the uniform for every police officer in New Haven.

On Tuesday, city leaders pushed the plan forward but they will have to act quickly in order to be reimbursed for the cost of the devices.

Officer Paul Finch showed the body cameras to the city's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. He has been wearing the body cam on duty as part of a test run. Soon, the more than 450 officers on the force could be equipped with the cameras as well.

"It's going to pretty much show both sides of what's going on so it can help the public and it can help the officer as well," said Officer Finch, who has been on the New Haven police force for nine years.

The estimated cost for the cameras, additional equipment, data storage and licensing totals just over $650,000. The city must apply with the state Office of Policy and Management by June 30 for full reimbursement. On Tuesday, New Haven's Public Safety Committee pushed the plan to Board of Alders for approval.

“All change is uncomfortable, but it's really important as a protection for them as officers and as a protection for members of our community," said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

Police Chief Anthony Campbell said that body cameras can help in investigations and can help resolve potential disputes with the public.

“Everyone knows that when someone is watching, people are on their best behavior," Chief Campbell said. He added that a recent survey of officers in the department showed that 80 percent were in favor of body cameras. He hopes that the entire force will soon embrace the change.

The body camera issue will goes for initial approval from the Board of Alders on May 22. Chief Campbell said if all goes as planned, officers will be equipped with cameras as early as September.

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