AP NEWS

Norwich City Council approves purchasing police body cameras

March 19, 2019

Norwich – City police soon will be equipped with body and cruiser cameras to record incidents and interactions with the public.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved a plan to take advantage of a 50 percent state reimbursement program that will end June 30. The city must purchase the 80 body cameras and 25 cruiser cameras by June, estimated to cost 150,000 grant reimbursement. Police Chief Patrick Daley said that shouldn’t be a problem after the council approval.

Daley, who will wear a body camera, said the proposed purchases includes long-term costs, such as a computer server to store data, which are also reimbursed through the grant. Daley also told the council that many departments have been equipped with cameras, and they have found that additional staffing to process data from the cameras has not been necessary.

During public comment Monday, resident Derell Wilson, a former mayoral candidate, supported the purchase of the police cameras, callling it a “no brainer” to protect both police and the public. Wilson said taxpayers already approved the funding through the public safety bond, and the police chief has found grants to reduce the cost to the city. 

The council resolution approved Monday called for allocating funds from the 150,000 state grant reimbursement, the city plans to use 100,000.

According to a chart posted on the state Office of Policy and Management website, 47 police departments in the state have been approved or have applications pending for the police camera reimbursement grants. In southeastern Connecticut, Groton Town Police received 83,155 in January of this year for cameras. New London is in the process of purchasing officer body cameras as well, but like Norwich was not yet listed on the chart.

The Norwich City Council also approved a separate plan to use $30,000 in the public safety bond to purchase security cameras for the downtown viaduct parking lot.

c.bessette@theday.com